Melanie Eclare was a Shutter Hub member who very sadly died in September 2016. A lot of us knew and loved her. We miss her amazing energy and desire to help tell the quiet but important stories, so we were heartened to see this feature on her work, After the Fire, in Loupe magazine.
Melanie said about After the Fire:
“After the Fire series was made after the devastation of the wild fires in northern California in September 2015. I was drawn to the community on Cobb Mountain, Lake County to make work at this moment of trauma as a visceral response to a landscape I know and love and to friends who live here. The resulting photographs speak of an ‘out of jointness' and sense of psychic or existential distress caused by extreme environmental change, both at a personal and global level.
These fires came after five years of extreme drought in California, leaving the land savagely altered. The ensuing loss of solace and sense of self in relation to the land, is thought to have a profound effect on a community after environmental devastation such as this. It has been suggested, by philosopher Glenn Albrecht, it may bring on an emotional state known as ‘solastagia’, a kind of homesickness when one is still at home.
As part of the bigger picture, these photographs also reflect a narrative revealing itself right now, referring to the conditions that define us as the Anthropocene generation. We are the ones who are changing the earth so radically that more damage has been done to the environment in recent years than any other time. Many believe this constitutes a new geological epoch as distinct from the Holoscene.
Our negative influence will remain a major geological force, perhaps for millions of years to come. For those of us aware of this, there is a sense of living in two or more temporal scales simultaneously, bringing on a kind of ‘out of jointness’ provoked by Anthropocene awareness. After the Fire is my personal response to the aftermath of such loss. It does not document my own history or land yet it expresses a heartfelt desire to bear witness to these conditions and feelings of ‘solastagia’ and what it means to be part of the Anthropocene generation.”
All images © Melanie Eclare