Jennifer Shaw is fine art photographer whose work encompasses both a world observed and a world constructed. Known for her playful approach to serious subjects, she is currently experimenting with photogravure. Her images have been published in two monographs: Hurricane Story (Chin Music Press), and Nature/Nurture (North Light Press).
Shaw grew up in Milwaukee, studied photography at the Rhode Island School of Design, then moved to New Orleans in pursuit of the artist’s life. Her work is held in collections including the New Orleans Museum of Art, the Ogden Museum, and the Museum of Fine Arts Houston. In 2020, Shaw was one of three finalists for the 1858 Prize, and in 2021 she was selected for Critical Mass Top 50.
Flood State is an ongoing series about weather anxieties and the precarious act of making a home on vulnerable land. In Louisiana, we face one of the highest rates of sea level rise in the world, compounded by the loss of 10,000 acres of coastal land each year. In addition, increasingly intense rainfall has begun to disrupt life with alarming frequency, flooding streets, cars, and homes without warning.
These portents of climate change leave me questioning the long-term viability of living in a place where we are at constant risk. I consider heading for higher ground. Yet extreme weather events are on the rise globally, begging the question: Is any place truly safe?
So, I imagine a future where we adjust and adapt to survive the rising tides. I compose directly on polymer photogravure plates, layering small toys and commonplace objects on the light-sensitive surface to create imagined scenes. In this brave new water-world, the skies may be dark and stormy, but fear is tempered by hope.
Release Date: July 8, 2022
For this image I used plastic swizzle sticks, saved from cocktails in San Miguel, to evoke poles in the rising gulf.
Flood State 041, 2017
Release Date: October 14, 2022
This image is about climate migration, adaptation to rising waters, and going with the flow. And yes, that is a dime bag. I found it on the street one morning and pocketed it to play with in the studio.
Flood State 028, 2016