In the five-year documentary project On the Route to Ruins: From Baalbek to Bukhara (2018–23), I chronicle the physical, cultural, and economic transformations occurring along the Silk Road as great tourism programs are instated. From Jordan to Kyrgyzstan, then beyond into China and India, I photograph contemporary specimens of the monumental—from restored ruins to amusement parks to agricultural and construction projects—and record the stories of the individuals working within the tourism industries.
Since in many of these countries tourism is equated with opportunity, the personal and communal stakes in effective, sustained transformation are high. To reveal the stasis or the change in individual lives or in geographical sites, I take a series of repeated, extended journeys. My relationships become part of the record—as employer, as tourist, as artist—as I pursue the dignity, the abject, the grandeur, and the forlornness of an inspired, storied Road.
To weave the sublime and the degraded tightly together, my aesthetic marries Transcendental painting, Sebastião Salgado-style reportage, and European conceptual industry photography in the vein of Berne and Hilla Becher. My hope is that the viewer comes to understand this part of the world as layered, magnificent, under pressure, and in the midst of both anticipated and chaotic transformations.