In the summer of 2013, after completing her MFA in photography from Yale, Sadie Wechsler rode her bike around Iceland, eventually making her way to back to Seattle, Washington where she’d grown up. During this time, which she spent almost entirely alone in various states of wilderness, Wechsler began making Baby This One’s For You, a series of pictures that reflect a perspective of the natural landscape driven as much by wonder and nostalgia as they are by sadness and fatalism.
“These images started as a byproduct of my experience,” says Wechsler, “an incomplete record of the places I spent time. I was in Utah for a little over a month, and this was my first time in the area. The golden quality of the light, the bright greens, oranges, pinks and blues of the rock, the scars and marks on the canyon walls felt like a new perspective and a new place to begin.” For Wechsler, the series' title works as both a nod to the false promises of landscape preservation and photographic idealism, and to intergenerational traditions of visual and written storytelling.
While the specific locations may often conjure viewers’ grand, pre-conceived experiences of imagery of the West, Wechsler's depiction of them are also about capturing and preserving her personal sense of visual awe. “They attempt at times to use these locations as ground not for documentation or examination but for play,” says Wechsler. “I made these photographs to record and obscure my path, to create images which speak more to the wonder of place and memory than to the specifics of locations.”
Wechsler’s photographs, which on the surface are linked by an attention to vibrant, unreal light, ultimately present a warped, sad and sometimes digitally manipulated riff on the history of photography of the American West. The light is intentionally too golden, too perfect, too idealized, and in its hyper contrivance, exposes the absurdity of any presentation of pure, natural vestige. Wechsler uses photography’s most effectively manipulative tools to coax us to find new meaning in these visual clichés. “I feel caught in the balance between joy for the opportunities and experiences these images are related to,” says Wechsler, “but also sadness and fear about the future of where we will be and how we will exist soon. I am using the obvious filter of the commercial or advertisement to over valorize -- to create a contemporary perspective.”
BIO: Sadie Wechsler was raised in Seattle, Washington where she lives and works. She studied photography at Bard College receiving a BA and Yale University School of Art where she earned an MFA. Her work has been included in shows both nationally and internationally, and has been included in many publications. She currently has a solo exhibition on view at Seattle’s Gallery4Culture titled Part I: Redo, and is publishing a book of the same title to be released within the next month.