Climate Truth: Artist's Statement

Patricia Galagan

ALTERED STATES is a seven-year photography project revealing the destruction of a New Mexico forest by fire and its transformation as it adapts to climate change.

In 2011, the Las Conchas fire burned 156,000 acres in the Santa Fe National Forest. Since then, massive tree-killing fires have become more frequent in the American Southwest and fire seasons are growing longer.

The project, now under development as a book, comprises two portfolios - Fire Ghosts by my husband, Philip Metcalf, and my work, The Green Fuse. Together, our images add perspective to what scientists confirm about the present moment in forest fires’ long history: current fires are a historical aberration worthy of note. Forests are not returning to their pre-fire states.