2023 Booooooom Photo Awards
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A series exploring mid-century landscaping in Northern California by photographer and writer Drew Waters. Born in Australia, Waters is based in Berkeley, California and Asheville, North Carolina. His work explores suburban ecology and commodified spaces of urban living. In “Contra Costa” Waters walks the streets of his neighbourhood at night observing the ways in which the cultivated plant life of homeowner gardeners, landscaping contractors, and day labourers reflect the perpetual struggle to bring the unkempt wildness and chaos of nature under control:
“In witnessing myriad shrubs and trees being shaped to fit the lines of the urban environment I came to feel empathy for these living forms; the inherent inclination to grow wild, in unpredictable ways, here made to conform to a suburban order of concrete lines and neatness. I also came to observe a personal recognition, a metaphorical depiction, for how we may each allow ourselves to be shaped by the demands of urban living, the ways we are compelled to alter our own needs and compulsions, to exist within, or to contend with the homogenizing forces of labor, efficiency, and productivity.”
See more images from “Contra Costa” below.