My pictures are of large photographic banners which depict scenes of the beach and oceanfront recreation. The banners are eight feet in height and hang on a chain link fence in front of a large beachfront property in Belize. They are hung in an effort to hide construction of new condominiums occurring behind the fence. The photos on the banners brazenly portray an imagined life of tropical leisure and serenity while the real life of leisure on the beach is actually being interrupted by construction noise and the destruction of fragile ecosystems, as bulldozers and poured concrete ravage the land and sea.
In the banners, artificial signs and symbols of valued ideas of an idyllic retreat are displayed within an environment that is being developed for sale, but not without first being at least partially destroyed. The photographs which dramatize the beauty of the sea and landscape as accessible, while in reality the environment and its true natural beauty are not. Only the reproduction of the image and the idea of the experience can be embraced here.
Joan Barker is an independent photographer, artist and educator. She completed her MFA in photography at SUNY New Paltz where she has taught for over ten years. Joan is the recipient of a NYFA Fellowship, the Village Voice Photography Grant and two Photographers’ Fellowship Fund awards from the Center for Photography at Woodstock. Her photographs have been featured nationally in one-person shows including OK Harris, NYC and Friends of Photography, San Francisco. Her work has been included in exhibits at the Photographers’ Gallery, London; Photohozos, Athens; Carrie Haddad Gallery, Hudson, NY; Cooper Union, NYC; and the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art, New Paltz, NY among others. Joan’s photographs are part of numerous public and private collections including the Center for Creative Photography in Tucson, AZ, the New York Public Library, NYC and the Bibliotheque Nationale de France. Several publications including The Chronicle for Higher Education; Independent on Sunday, London, UK, The New York Times; Photonews, Hamburg, Germany; and Die Tageszeitung, Berlin, Germany have published her work.