J. Henry Fair’s stunning abstract compositions are full of organic forms and graphic patterns: plumes, branches, rivulets, as well as grids and softened geometric forms. But in Fair’s large-scale photographs, beauty and horror coexist. Fair’s subject in “The Hand of Man” is a damaged environment: de-forested landscapes, polluted waterways, hydraulic fracturing sites, and waste from refinery operations and other industrial practices. His goal is to “produce beautiful images that stimulate an aesthetic response, then curiosity, then personal involvement.”
“Flying over these sites is the only way to see things,” Fair has said. “The aerial perspective is inherently intriguing to land-based animals.” It is the aerial view that is his particular angle of vision-the distant view, not of the peaceful blue planet, but of the compromised landscape of a world that even in the digital era is still predominantly industrial.