Paloma Dooley

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In my ongoing project Edges / Passageways, I investigate the strange and often arbitrary ways people draw lines over the land. I am drawn—over and over again—to fences, barriers, walkways, paths, highways, and walls that, together, form a visual vocabulary of movement, ownership, belonging, and division between person and person, or between person and land. I am fascinated by the ways in which people make decisions about space and ownership and, through photographic exploration, I want to look at the ways movement is permitted or prohibited and the ways in which land is divvied up and parceled out. A freeway is a passageway to many, but an edge/barrier for some. This dual state of existing is what I am searching for—that an edge can separates two things or places, or serve as the passage between them. Freeways are often presented as projects that will serve as connectors across a city, or between cities—effective, efficient: a force for good. Often, though, their construction necessitates the destruction of entire neighborhoods by bisection. In looking for ways that land is fenced in and movement is controlled, I also see the ways that people find their inevitable ways around walls. I find the ways that people make—people create ways through, people improvise, people track. Fences fall and barriers can fail. Walls outlive their usefulness. Foot-worn pathways—“desire paths”—prevail, and lowly vines can overtake highway overpasses. I am interested in picturing the borders and barriers that people erect arbitrarily and enforce haphazardly, but I also want to look at the ways that people undermine and evade systems of organization and control.

Paloma Dooley grew up in New York and earned a BA in photography from Bard College. In 2016, she completed a one month artist residency at the Vermont Studio Center. In 2017, her work was featured in “Too Good to be Photographed,” (pub. Lugemik, ed. Paul Paper) a book about the strengths and failures of photography as a medium. She currently lives and works in upstate New York. She uses a large format view camera to photograph predominantly in the landscape at home and on the road.

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