In Drone Series, photographer Christopher Tsouras simulates the metaphorical and literal landscape of war as seen through drones. His mixed-media photographic works, depicting an almost otherworldly, yet identifiable terrain, are haunting and beautiful while offering a skewed perspective—grainy, blurry imagery, a translation of life under surveillance and, in some cases, just before impact.
The series, Tsouras says, is not intended as an indictment, but rather a means of exploring this new way of seeing the world and the resulting effects of removing layers of reality by operating unmanned surveillance and combat crafts on computers miles away.
Tsouras shot the images in the Nevada desert, which resembles the type of landscapes where drones are most active. They present abandoned, desolate sites observed remotely by you, the viewer. His post-production processing and use of copper and gold-leafed backgrounds add textures and reddish tones to the already surreal sights. By piecing together the images in collage form with tape, asphalt and other materials, he combines the digital and tactile as if a battlefield.
Though the work is made to consider the power of perception, rather than be taken literally, it’s hard to walk away without questioning ideas of detachment and compassion. “The ability to do what we’re doing is absolutely fascinating and dehumanizing as well,” Tsouras says. “To what degree does this technology have the capacity to alter our relationship to the environment and to one another?”
Drone Series Through October 4. Winchester Cultural Center, 455-7340. Opening reception August 16, 5:30-7:30 p.m.