(American, b. 1954)
Ancient Native American footpaths and nineteenth century railroad beds, both traces of human activity on the land of the American West, hold equal weight in Mark Ruwedel’s photographs. Instead of framing the relationship between man and nature as a battle for control and dominance, Ruwedel shows a kind of dual appreciation of the slow geologic evolution of land and the power of man to reshape, reverse, or surmount such immense formations. This image exemplifies his approach; the rocky ridge here was blasted and carted away in the latter half of the nineteenth century to create a straight and level path for the Northern Pacific railroad.
Mark Ruwedel studied at Kutztown State College, Pennsylvania, and Concordia University in Montreal, where he later taught photography. His photographs have been exhibited widely, including at the J.Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the Chinati Foundation, Marfa, Texas; and the National Gallery, Canada. His work is held in several permanent collections, including those of the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; the Library of Congress; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; and the Princeton University Art Gallery, Trenton, New Jersey. He currently divides his time between Vancouver, British Columbia and Los Angeles, where he teaches photography at the California State University at Long Beach.