For over 50 years, Winnetka resident David Plowden has been photographing the changing of the American landscape and the man-made instruments of that transformation. He describes his recording of a vanishing America as "staying one step ahead of the wrecking ball." His images are not mere pictures, they are metaphors that illustrate the impact of "the hand of man on America." This story is told in over 20 books of photographs. Plowden studied under Minor White, Walker Evans, and O. Winston Link to name a few. But his own work reflects a viewpoint and level of craft wholly his own.
In conversation with Jon Grand, David will trace the development of his art and his mission to preserve a world that is lost: the great steam engines that knit together the land, the iron bridges that crossed rivers and streams, the open prairie now tamed into corn fields, and the dying towns that dot the map. For better or for worse, the America we see today would not have been possible without them.
When David Plowden traveled from his native East Coast to the Midwest, he was stunned by the landscape Whitman describes. In the years that followed he became enthralled by its vast open spaces and wildly changing skies. Fields of wheat, grain, and corn, farms and grain elevators became the subjects of his photographs.