This week has seen an eerie image of a human face in outer space, and a not so eerie image of human face in not so outer space. This post is something in between; the images might be mistaken for the surface of the Moon or that of Mars or some other surface in outer space. In actuality, they were all taken of this very Earth. This is the Outerland as imagined by photographer Allison Davies.
Allison Davies' images look timeless, as if they could have been taken yesterday, however her Outerland project took her the better part of a decade to complete. She began the series around 1998 and traveled to who knows exactly where in order to capture images of Earth that don't look like Earth.
Indeed, were it not for the text to go along with these images, one might imagine these photographs to be taken from robotic rovers on other planets, or more accurately, on Outerworlds. The only hint of their Earthly origin is the photographer herself dressed entirely in a white clean suit. In some cases, her presence makes the images even more other worldly.
It's that ambiguity that makes the whole series even more interesting. While the strange rock formations and colorful sand make for striking landscapes, the photographer's intentions are not made known. Even in her book, the images appear without any description. Are they supposed to be a kind of statement about global warming, or the future of international space exploration? The viewer has to come up with answers of his own.
While going through these photographs, it's easy to imagine them being taken on some other planet with their descriptive title being "Outerland". However, the more you look at them, you can't help but be amazed that they were all taken in different parts of this world. One image has the hot sands of an endless desert, another has the humid beginnings of a swampland, while another looks like the icy and windswept land of the Antarctic.
If you put all of those together, you get Earth. Even in her desolate places, this planet can still look hauntingly beautiful. The barren beauty of these images only accentuates how wonderfully diverse this world is. From her highest peaks to the deepest trenches, the Earth truly is the final frontier.
This is Allison Davies' website, although just like her Outerland images, there doesn't seem to be a whole lot going on there. There are some more space-like images of Earth on the Women in Photography website. For those who want a hard copy, you can order the Outerland book here.