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Anna Collette is a photographer who explores conflicted notions of the contemporary landscape. Her work began in 2002 with a series rendering urban and suburban environments that focused on how the natural world—and human expectations of it—is being redefined, both visually and metaphorically, by the failed idealism of increasing development.
Her next series, Invasive Species (2005-2007), presents views of an invasive plant, Pueraria lobata or kudzu, which is overtaking large swaths of the Northeast. Here, the landscape is a metaphor for terrifying destruction and transcendent beauty at once.
Collette’s additional work, Dark Landscapes (2008), portrays a forest at nightfall during winter. She exposed the negatives so each image is barely perceptible to the human eye, then used a scanner to read and render the negatives perfectly, revealing an impenetrable, tangled, and forbidding realm.
Her most recent work, Invasive Species, isn't, as one might initially surmise, a sprawling wild landscape so virginal and unblemished that it's practically oppressive. Rather, these forests in the northeastern United States are the latest front in the so far futile struggle between native plants and Kudzu. The vine is native to the south of Japan and southeast China, but since being introduced in Florida has spread to cover about a third of the U.S. and is now making its way through the mid-Atlantic and northeast states. This slow, as yet unstoppable ground invasion, constantly and imperceptibly spreading to new battlefields, threatens the very landscape that is so bound up in ideas of American identity and ideology.
Collette was born in Massachusetts in 1974. She received a BFA from the Massachusetts College of Art and an MFA from Yale University. She teaches photography at the Massachusetts College of Art, and lives in New York City.