The work is as much about the events, forces, and people that shape a place as it is about the physical place itself.
All photographs on this website Copyright Shaun O'Boyle, all rights reserved.
This website is dedicated to work done since 2015 in the Arctic on my Guggenheim Fellowship, and the Antarctic with the NSF's Artists and Writers Program.
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
All photographs are available as prints. Also you can visit my main website at www.new.oboylephoto.com
This website highlights photography work done in the Arctic and Antarctic since 2015. I traveled to Antarctica twice with the National Science Foundation as part of their Antarctic Artists and Writers Program. The Arctic work in Svalbard and Iceland was done as part of a 2017 Guggenheim Fellowship in Photography project.
I am interested in the connection between landscape, architecture, culture and memory, and have explored ideas and locations around this connection in projects viewable on my main website www.new.oboylephoto.com.
I live in Berkshire County in western Massachusetts, received my BFA in architecture & industrial design from Parsons School of Design in 1987 and work as a photographer and architectural designer.
Guggenheim: In April, 2017 I was named a Guggenheim Fellow in Photography, a great honor which has allowed me to take my work into the field to locations out of reach before. Essentially my Guggenheim project is looking at how the artifacts of history have shaped the present landscapes of the Arctic regions, looking at these regions as cultural landscapes with a long human history. As the Guggenheim project has progressed I’ve found that the artifacts on the landscape in Svalbard, Norway (the original location of this project) are very concentrated in the old Russian mining regions, and other mining locations around Longyearbyen. Interesting, and I spent a lot of time photographing these sites, but I was hoping to find pieces of other early activities, such as the 19th century Polar expeditions (Andree’s failed attempt to fly a hydrogen balloon to the North Pole is one example), early hunter/explorers, early science expeditions, and places where walrus and whales were hunted. These turned out to be very dispersed, hard to get to, and not very interesting visually. There isn't enough of the built environment left to build a visual narrative of those events. I looked in other regions of the Arctic and Sub-Arctic and settled on Iceland as another location with a long history, with sagas and myths, and it remarkable volcanic landscape which has been lived on and farmed for 1200 years. It’s a landscape where artifacts from the agrarian past can be found (although you have to work hard to find them), which is still alive today in areas away from Reykjavik. Other 19th and 20th century sites are there to find, places where fisherman lived in crude huts made of black volcanic rock and rowed out onto the rough waters to fish the rich seas. Shells of houses in desolate fishing towns. Old factories used to process fish on a commercial scale. The remarkable barren landscape near the Arctic Circle. The landscape itself has many stories attached to it through the saga stories and myths, mountains where giants live, and where the faces of trolls can still be seen frozen in the volcanic rock. Many landscape feature were sacred to pagan era Icelanders, such as a mountain associated with Thor the thunder god (Mt. Helgafell), where it was believe the soul would enter on death. I’ll be adding photographs from a second trip to Iceland soon, so look for those soon.
Book: My book Modern Ruins: Portraits of Place in the Mid-Atlantic Region was published in 2010 by Penn State University Press. The book includes photographs of steel mills, institutions, coal mining, and Bannerman’s Arsenal on Pollepel Island on the Hudson River, an introduction by Geoff Manaugh, and brief essays by noted historians Curt Miner, Kenneth Warren, Kenneth Wolensky, and Thomas Lewis who offer social and historical contexts for the photographs in the book.
My photographs have been featured in a number of books, magazines and websites including Smithsonian Magazine's Years Best Photographs (Dec 2017); Smithsonian Magazine article Nightmare on the Ice by author Kim Stanley Robinson (Dec 2017); Photo District News, October 2017 article titled Science-Focused Artist Residencies on the Rise; Lenswork #77 2008 (cover and feature on Bethlehem Steel); George Barr's Why Photographs Work; Brooks Jensen's Looking at Images; 2012 issue of Loupe; EXIT magazine (Spain); Dylan Trigg’s The Aesthetics of Decay; The Next American City issue twelve; Weird NJ - photographs in multiple issues; and a number of other magazines and album covers.
I have photographed, designed and self-published eight different books including Bethlehem Steel, The Boatyard, Bazaar, Kennedy Space Center, The Asylum, Rail Lines and Housatonic River available here.
My photographs are featured on Lensculture, Art Photo Index, my website new.oboylephoto.com, photo blogs at oboylephoto.com/blog and popantarctica.wordpress.com, on instagram @ soboyle. The Antarctica project blog is linked above on this site.