Architectural Landscape: Ancient Persia

Lynn Davis

February 2017

Lynn Davis (b. 1944) is an American photographer, well known for her large-scale square format photographs. Lynn Davis works through series, generally in black and white with a distinctive use of tonality: intense greys, soft blacks and whites plus the frequent use of gold and selenium tones. Her carefully organized compositions and a controlled modulation of light also define her style and give her work an impressive sense of grandeur.

 

Her style combines minimalism and the monumental, focusing on the motif and eliminating the surroundings. Lynn Davis aims to capture the beauty of places and the emotions aroused by their contemplation. We see neither figures nor signs of presence, or anything that provides a context: her photographs are silent images of erosion and decay, conveying all the beauty and nostalgia of the passing of time.

 

From 1962 to 1966, Davis attended the University of Colorado and the University of Minnesota, and received her BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute in 1970. In her early years, Davis worked as a photojournalist, focusing on portrait photography and art in her spare time, always recognizing the beauty of the human form.

Since her first trip to Greenland in 1986, Davis has dealt with monumental landscapes and famous cultural sites, for which she is internationally known today. Her trips have taken her to India, China, Kenya, and the Middle East, and she frequently returns to Greenland.

 

Architectural Landscape: Ancient Persia - Lynn Davis had been interested in Iran and the remains of its ancient civilization for some time but it was not until 2001 and following a period of investigation and research that she travelled to the country to work on the series Ancient Persia. The architecture of that civilization had retained the marks of the numerous different cultures that had co-existed in that region since the ancient times. In her photographs Davis captures the feelings that she experienced in front of the remains of an advanced civilization, from Pasargadae, the first capital of the Achaemenid Empire, to the impressive structures of the “ice houses”, and in particular the fascinating Zoroastrian “towers of silence” in which the dead were placed to protect the land from their impure bodies and which notably moved the artist. Detailed compositions and highly striking viewpoints come together in these almost abstract works charged with a meditative force.

 

Her works can be seen in the collections of The Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and many more. In 1999, the J. Paul Getty Museum showed her works, and the Center for Creative Photography in Tucson, AZ, dedicated a solo exhibition to her in the same year.

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