BEYOND THE BEAUTY BUFFER

Oftentimes, the nature that we are exposed to online or when travelling consists of beautiful landscapes and diverse wildlife. What is not shown, however, are the signs of environmental damage inflicted by humans - just metres away. Lines of trees are planted along highways and railways, strategically placed as "beauty buffers" to hide the evidence of logging, mining, and overconsumption. Photographs taken of beautiful natural phenomena fail to include the crowding of tourists and overspilling trashcans. My worry is that these measures meant to shield our eyes from the effects of our destructive behaviour have led to an overinflation of our perception of the natural world, lulling us into a false sense of security. My project seeks to ask, "what lies behind that line of trees?" By taking those extra few steps to visually document both sides of the beauty buffer, I hope to share both the beauty and destruction that is happening right this second in our "natural" world - and communicate the urgency of what is at stake.

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