Artist's Statement

Bremner Benedict

Archival pigment prints / w: 36” x h: 24”

Hidden Waters centers on disappearing desert springs in the American Western landscape. To interpret the unique role springs, play in human and nature’s time, place, and memory, I use a muted infrared color palette to imply their potential demise in the face of climate change and aquifer depletion. A blend of art and science, this series questions do unnoticed parts of the natural world hold a truth about our experience we overlook.

Influenced by my own love of the natural world and photographer Robert Adams’ idea that we desire to experience the world as coherent and understand landscape as context for deeper awareness my images animate the visual character of spring wetland landscapes.

This series began on a springs study field-trip where I discovered that springs contain a complex diversity of biological life. Fascinated I became drawn to the story of these ecologically, paleontologically, historically culturally significant yet vulnerable ecosystems. On my way home, I stopped at a spring. Hiking down a hill to find a 6-foot pipe sticking straight up out of the ground an artesian spring gushing as an open faucet. It provides the only running water for miles. Everyone has a relationship with water, especially those living in dry places.

I travel through time when driving the same paths that Ice Age people and later European immigrants walked from oasis to oasis. Despite their importance vastly misunderstood, their existence has been essential to our survival for millennia. Still relevant they are a valuable gauge of climate change holding vital clues to the health and longevity of earth’s fresh groundwater. Spring wetlands are now so damaged, they are considered one of the world’s most threatened ecosystems.

In desert habitats water is a gift, and the clock is ticking to for us to preserve it. Protecting springs can prolong their existence, and in doing so, our own.