Robert Harding Pittman’s Anonymization images are all about the effect of urban sprawl on the landscape and the inevitable destruction of the environment. It is interesting that he makes mention of the fact that no matter where he photographed in the world, the style architecture was very similar. All cultural references had been removed and one building in Spain would resemble another in Los Angeles.
On my recent holiday to Puerto Vallarta in Mexico I noticed the same thing. After travelling through the old colonial town with its Spanish style architecture and cobblestone streets and reaching the outskirts of the city, one would encounter the big box stores and replica box style townhouses with no character at all encroaching onto farm land. I see the same pattern in my hometown of Vancouver as well. New houses spring up looking like chicken coops (according to my husband) – they are just square boxes with windows and doors – totally characterless.
Pittman’s images show the juxtaposition of the cookie-cutter urban development alongside the environment that is being targeted. The environment looks extremely vulnerable, almost appearing as if it has been raped or violated by these developments.
“All across the world a uniform, homogenous model of development, inspired by Los Angeles style urban sprawl – consisting of massive freeways, parking lots, shopping malls and large- scale master planned communities with golf courses – is being stamped onto the earth’s topography. “
Kathleen Clark in LenScratch
Pittman, R.H. Anonymization [online]. Available at: https://www.roberthardingpittman.com/photography/anonymization/ [Accessed 17 July, 2017]
Smithson, A. (2015). Robert Harding Pittman: Anonymization [online] LenScratch. Available at: http://lenscratch.com/2015/05/robert-harding-pittman-anonymization/ [Accessed 17 July, 2017]