Artist Statement

American Castles
A Portfolio of Military Ruins and Monuments

This project is to photograph American fortifications constructed in their time to provide the latest in military protection and security, most were obsolete before their completion. They are now only crumbling ruins or reconstructed tourist attractions. My objective being to illustrate the inevitable futility of building ‘Walls’ made of wood, brick or stone; or any of their 21st Century technological equivalents, for “Security”.

I see many frightening examples of this ‘Fortress Mindset’ and ‘Culture of Fear’ in the ‘Post 9/11 World’. The most obvious being Israel’s attempt to literally wall off the Palestinians with concrete. America’s faulty anti missile shield and secret electronic surveillance of it’s citizens, not to mention the “Pre-Emptive” war in Iraq. Sadly, like all of those ‘Walls’ constructed in the past to ostensibly protect “Us” from “Them”; the Maginot Line, Hadrian's Wall and The Great Wall of China for instance, these new ones also are doomed to suffer the same fate, Irrelevance. Military solutions to Human Relations are at best Transient, at worst a Terrible waste. Ultimately only "Truth and Justice for All" can provide a lasting peace and security for everyone.

I am shooting this project on various Black & White films in large format and 35mm. I am making both Platinum/Palladium, Van Dyke Brown and Selenium toned Silver Gelatin prints from the large format negatives and Selenium toned Silver Gelatin prints from the 35mm negatives. The use of B&W to render this project seems most appropriate for its ability to be concurrently topical and timeless.

It is my intention to publish a book of these images in conjunction with a traveling exhibition in order to encourage a public discussion of Militarism and it’s Consequences.

Jonathan Burnette
The Super Tourist