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Exploring Environmental Art: Sand Trails

Sand Trails photography by Susan Alexander.

Sand Trails, photograph by Susan Alexander.

This is part of a series where I explore interesting pieces of environmental art

This is a great example of eARTh or earth as art. As an earth scientist, I appreciate art that capture the beauty of a natural process. In this photo, award-winning photographer, Susan Alexander, captured the beauty of the eroding sand. You can stand on a beach all day and continually watch the waves and tides erode and deposit sand. Susan captures this continual process in a unique way and turned it into art. Very cool.

What makes this photograph special is that you’ll never see this exact image again…ever. That’s the beauty of water processes; it’s never the same twice. Waterfalls, rivers, waves, erosion, they may look repetitive from a distance, but moving water is never the same.

It takes more than just a good artist’s eye to see this, but also a good photographer to understand the lighting, composure, and technical skills to capture it. I’ve tried to take enough photographs of landscapes and earth processes to know that I’m impressed with this photograph.

The photographer may not have realized she was making environmental art when she took the photograph, but that’s how I perceive it. I immediately saw the eroding sand and made a connection. I guess that’s part of the process of art; everyone may take something different from it. I see environmental art.

This was photographed by Susan Alexander in Cape May, NJ in 2013.

Exploring Environmental Art


I have a growing interest in environmental art and I’m going to pursue it. Not making environmental art, but looking for it, appreciating and understanding it.

I don’t have an art education background or experience, but I’ve been seeing and thinking about the power of environmental art. Art is designed to grab your attention, inspire, or make you think. That’s what it does for me. When I see an interesting piece, I want to know more about it. What do I see? Does it have a deeper meaning? What was the artist’s intent? Is it the same as the artist? Does it matter?

I first need to come to an understanding of what fits in to the category of environmental art. Is it art that makes an environmental message, art that is made from natural or other environmental-related materials, both, or those and more? To me, it’s all of that as long as it creates a relationship, connection, understanding or appreciation of a natural process or environmental issue.

An example I enjoy, which is typically a photograph, is eARTh or Earth Art. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s the earth’s natural processes or landscapes captured with a beauty or perspective to create art.

Here’s what I plan to do about this new interest. As I see environmental art or artists, I’ll write about it here and do my best to highlight and explain it from my perspective. I may even get the artist’s perspective. I’m not going to be an art critic. I just want to understand the art. So stay tuned for my take on the environmental art that comes across my path.