Between the Ground & Sky
LSU College of Art & Design Assistant Professor of Photography Johanna Warwick’s photographic essay, Between the Ground & Sky, was selected as one of five winners in The Washington Post and Visura’s InSight 2018 open call for submissions for photo essays. The series, selected from more than 300 entries, was featured in The Washington Post and numerous photography blogs.
Writing and photography by Johanna Warwick
These photographs were made photographing the changing landscape of the Danby Marble Quarry in Dorset Mountain, Vermont. The Danby Quarry has been in use since the 18th century. It is over a mile long, has a footprint of 25 acres, and is 1.5 miles deep. It is the largest underground marble quarry in the world.
I began photographing the marble curious about its use but eventually became charmed by the physical history carved into the space. The heavy unyielding material takes a geometric form inside a huge organic landscape. I am fascinated by the constant metamorphosis of the space. Etched, carved, and broken apart, Danby Mountain is a record of time. The physical markings inside the mountain created by both the original method and the current method of quarrying is at the center of my interest due to its impact on the nature of the mountain. From the beginning of quarrying there to today, the technology has vastly changed and is visible inside the walls of the quarry. In the shallowest depths, the quarry reveals the chaos of past axe quarrying in the ceiling, showing every stroke each man took, while the more recently excavated spaces reveal the control of diamond rope cutting into precise geometric cubes. Each method has left an indelible impression on the mountain by destroying its natural state and creating a geometric and ordered new landscape. These are the qualities that I find both interesting and intriguing. I am fascinated by its now formal beauty.
My photographs of Dorset Mountain undulate between buried underground, immersed in darkness to being elevated into the sky and mountains, overcome by light. The sense of where you are is confused by ever changing planes of focus. The ground and ceiling, up and down, become indistinguishable. I photograph little to indicate scale, rather creating a world where a mountain can be a pebble, a crevice can be a valley, and a stone can be a grave. Through photographic examination I hope to reveal the captivating landscape of this place while evoking a sense of its history and questioning how it will continue to change in the future.
Read more about Professor Warwick’s work.