For over 35 years, Robin Temaiana Repp has been documenting and commenting on our contemporary society with different photographic methods. Beginning in 1969-70, as a student at UC Berkeley, she created photo silk-screen images and transformed them into protest posters. Since then, she has presented photo imagery in paintings, woodcuts, lithography, drawings, collages, and sculptures.
Her current work is digital infrared photography, which portrays the emotions of fear and anticipation in the landscape. The use of infrared photography suggests a surrealistic and dream like future state. Infrared wavelengths are not visible to the human eye, but become apparent in the photograph. In this same way that people are fascinated by the landscape but fear what it may hold, infrared photography shows us a hint of the unknown from a safe distance.
We have a conflict about the landscape. Feeling safer in groups peering out into the landscape than actually being alone in the natural setting appeals to most people. Whether it is a local park, seaside pier or a national forest, we tend to stay on the edge and just look over the side of the railing. Questions of what is out there come to mind. Curious anticipation yet fear of this unknown create a dichotomy of identity. In the back of our mind is an impending disaster scenario. In our imagination is the constant fear of nuclear annihilation. We are always checking the sky for signs of the inevitable incoming missile trails. There is always the persistent evil predator waiting in the shadows of the park, the ghostly dead spirits roaming the godforsaken island, or some other impending disaster of tidal wave, hurricane or earthquake just over the horizon. We are looking out from our platform into the allotted or qualified natural space from a safe distance, often huddled together in groups showered with an odd light, leaning, pointing or taking photos for souvenirs. Most of us experience this anticipation and fear in the landscape by way of a roadside scenic viewpoint, a designated stopping spot, a pre-framed area, selected by an engineer or park official. Robin Temaiana Repp, 2006