Imaging a Shattering Earth: Contemporary Photography and the Environmental Debate
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Jonathan Long
Born in Rexburg, ID, in 1977
Resides in Rexburg, ID

Jonathan Long is a recent graduate of Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, where he earned his Master of Fine Arts in Cinema and Photography. He has also attended Utah State University, where he graduated Cum Laude in 2000 with a degree in Studio Art Photography.

In the past, Long has worked as a photography and web editor for The Utah Statesman and as a photographer for Zion National Park. His photographs have appeared in galleries and exhibitions dating back to 2002, including The Glove Factory, SIU Surplus Gallery at Carbondale and the Portland Community College Northview Gallery.

Pre-Law Wastelands is Jonathan Long’s first major work, as well as his M.F.A. thesis, presented in 2003. His goal as an artist is to stress the importance of environmental laws and regulations. Through his panoramic images of forsaken mines, Long takes viewers back to a time before such laws were enacted, and he provides evidence for why they should continue to exist and be enforced.

Pictures in Gallery


Works Description

All four images from Jonathan Long’s Pre-Law Wastelands are featured in Imaging a Shattering Earth because of their depiction of the careless way man has treated the environment in the past. “Pre-Law” refers to the time before laws such as the Clean Air and Clean Water acts were passed (respectively 1970 and 1977), and coal miners were allowed to tear down forests and tear up the land without consideration for the ecosystem. Long’s focus is on the abandoned mines of southern Illinois, where he captures the feeling of a first hand perspective. “In photographing these ‘Pre-Law’ sites, it is my intention to remind the viewer how things were before the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act and other environmental protection laws were enacted,” Long says.

The pictures were taken with a special camera that rotates 360 degrees around a fixed point to give the feeling of being surrounded by the desolation. As the journalist Janet Goeze put it: “Long surrounds his viewers with the blight on Earth.”

Long hopes these images will not only show what we have done in our past, but what he hopes will not happen in the future. “When our political leaders claim protective policies and regulations are not needed, my work stands proof as otherwise.”

Selected Bibliography

Goeze, Janet. “Photos Capture Polluted Landscapes.” The Oregonian, 24 February 2005, D1.

Long, Jonathan. “Pre-Law Wastelands: Abandoned Mine Lands of Southern Illinois.” Masters of Fine Arts Thesis Exhibition, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, 2003. Weblink.

Photo-eye. “Jonathan Long.” Photographer’s Showcase Gallery, 2003. Weblink.