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  • by Cece M. Scott

Scott Conarroe: By Sea

Scott Conarroe believes that the environment “offers insights into the true values and psychology of a culture.” He acknowledges that each one of us has an impact and inherent responsibility for both our own personal surroundings as well as the environment at large. However, his photographic mission in his By Sea project is not about judgment or making a political statement regarding our infringement on the environment.

“I didn’t want By Sea to be an inventory of climate change vignettes or [a] map of the coastline,” Conarroe states in an email interview from Limburg, Belgium, where he worked on a project about how comparable regions deal with their industrial heritages. Instead, his approach to the project is analogous to an observational essay.

“The coastline was a really useful device for discussing the way we inhabit North America,” he states. “Along a single elevation, it spans the breadth of this civilization from circumpolar to subtropical regions. Through cities and sprawl and unadulterated landscape, sea level marks a visible edge where the land we can live on abuts a vast plane where we can’t. In a sense, the coastline illustrates that our dominion has limits.”

With his By Sea project, Conarroe wanted to achieve a parallel imagery of timelessness and in-the-moment engagement. To evoke this ambiance, he shot his images by using long exposures, just before dawn and just after dusk. “In long exposures, when the light changes colour by the second, the light blends and softens and a degree of uncertainty is introduced into the process. I close the shutter when things move around in my frame, and when they become still or absent I open it again. In the end,