Arthur Drooker: Lost Worlds

Terminal 3

September 2012 - November 2012

Something hidden. Go and find it.
Go and look beyond the Ranges—
Something lost behind the Ranges.
Lost and waiting for you. Go!

from Rudyard Kipling’s poem
The Explorer 1898

Arthur Drooker: Lost Worlds

Lost Worlds presents a visual narrative of the cultures, conflicts, and conquests that forged the New World. With crumbling facades and overgrown walls, each ruin writes its own chapter in an epic that is all too human and yet worthy of the gods in whose honor many of them were originally built.

Photographer Arthur Drooker traveled to more than thirty ruins in sixteen countries over a three-year period to create this series. He chose these sites using three criteria: the ruin must be historically preserved; it must make a distinctive architectural and geographical contribution to the series; and it should be a suitable subject for infrared photography, a format that evokes their inherent mystery.

Infrared light exists outside the visible spectrum and goes unseen by the human eye, but Drooker used a specially adapted 35-millimeter digital camera to record it. Infrared light’s ethereal effect illuminates the otherworldly atmosphere that haunts ruins, allowing the photographer to capture the melancholy beauty of ancient temples, pyramids, and palaces.

Ruins reveal evocative power and encourage the viewer to contemplate the cyclical nature of civilization’s course. Far from being vestiges of the past, these ruins reflect the future. The conditions that led to the demise of the civilizations whose ruins Drooker photographed, including climate change, depletion of natural resources, political upheaval, and warfare all exist today. These ruins show not only where we have been, but also where we might be headed.

©2012 by San Francisco Airport Commission. All rights reserved.