Part 3: Towards Fine Art Design Journalism

“One should not only photograph things for what they are but for what else they are.”
— Minor White, Photographer

 

For centuries we have exploited nature for consumption and urbanization. We now enter an age of extreme climate change, rising seas, natural resource depletion, and landscape decimation driven by our global need to abuse nature rather than live harmoniously with it. The Anthropocene epoch is upon us and we are its defining feature.

If we are to change the world, we must communicate our world’s most pressing critical issues in ways that change hearts and minds of the viewer. As a journalist-turned-designer-turned artist, the driving interest in my work is to unify the ethical and documentary obligations of journalism (storytelling) and its common ground with the projective, forward-thinking obligations of the design fields (futuretelling). All design decisions involve value judgements, any acts of building are political, and social justice must always be raised when we seek to modify our physical environments. The medium of journalism can yield means and methods for more aptly approach these design decisions.

I mediatiate between recording man’s destruction and beauty that surrounds it. I question our assumptions in/of/about nature and man’s relationship to it—through visual works, speculative design, and writing. My work is metaphor and revelation to the true inner workings of our modern existence; they seek conversation, provocation, and evocation between intrigue and repulsion, attraction and fear, horror and awe, reality and abstraction. We must provoke advocacy and change in thinking about our future; to question preconceived notions, creates speculative propositions, and juxtapose natural phenomena with human destruction.

My industrial landscape artworks are mirrors, reflecting the past and questioning the future—there is no trickery or false notions of how they relate to our existence. We create(d) them. Now we must fix them and our insatiable need to consume them.


In my more traditional black and white landscape works, I move beyond recording “I was here” but evoke higher narratives about places, time, and our future within this extraordinary world full of delight and problems, progress and beauty. Shooting sand dunes, for example, moves me well beyond recording a beautiful composition but instead focus on time, emotion, movement, and landscape change

As a journalist-turned-designer, the driving interest in my work is to unify the ethical and documentary obligations of journalism (storytelling) and its common ground with the projective, forward-thinking obligations of the design fields (futuretelling)."

Jonathan Knight