Jack Latham – The Prospect of Forest Preservation

In June 2014, we launched The MIniclick Press with the plan to publish affordable books on photographers side project, experimental works and archives. We started off with 5 books by Brighton based photographers.

Here we take a closer look at Jack Latham’s “The Prospect of Forest Preservation” (which can be purchased here), with writer Bryony Good.

‘Distant trees creak

Deep echoing cracks;

Deadwood limbs

Break and bend.

Unseen birds

Clatter and flap

Between branches

As men below

Beat the brush

They stamp their boots

In the soft crush

Of pins and needles.’

Architecture and Interior Photography by Jim Stephenson

After driving eight hours out of his way to get to the town of Prospect, Jack Latham produced this series of photographs of the small town in Oregon. He oversaw the local people burning the forest in order to encourage deer to graze and in turn to encourage hunting, the only source of tourism in the area. This collection of beautiful photographs is a result of just one day of shooting.

Jack’s description of the town leads my imagination to stereotypes of small town America: guns, taxidermy, and whisky. But we’re met with photographs that depict the realities of a town home to only 650 people; extreme measures in an extreme environment. 

Architecture and Interior Photography by Jim Stephenson

We’re introduced to stunning landscapes fogged with smoke, giving everything an eerie feel. As we move through Prospect we’re taken to the burning forest – we see the town is not a scene set for a thriller, but a home for real people. Amongst the breath-taking landscapes, we’re given a candid insight into the traditions of a small American town. The people pictured in his images seem quiet, almost unaware that their activities may be noteworthy.

Architecture and Interior Photography by Jim Stephenson

Humans are dwarfed by the wilderness they’re attempting to shape, huge trees loom over a family of walkers, the smoke-shrouded branches turn the landscape into a dreamscape – the solemn men at work are the only thing rooting us in reality. The people here seem completely at one with their environment, it’s just another day at work in this enchanting forest. Jack’s work is accompanied by a poem by Sofia Kathryn Smith, titled It’s Just Another Job, perfectly reflects this dreamlike reality. What’s most wonderful about the joining of these two pieces is the way Sofia’s poetry adds sound to the imagery. The photographs alone seem quiet, as if a silent destruction is taking place. However, in partnership, the work comes to life with creaking and cracking and clattering and flapping, and your imagination is fuelled by the combination. 

Architecture and Interior Photography by Jim Stephenson

Together they present to us the poetry of a town called Prospect burning itself to further its prospects. The small sawmill town seems like the perfect story, with its symmetrical river and railroad, and together Jack and Sofia tell that story with all the consideration and atmosphere it deserves. 

Thanks to Bryony Good for the review.

Jack Latham’s “The Prospect of Forest Preservation” can be purchased here.

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