The Burn | Photos by Jane Fulton Alt, 2007-2013

















The Burn | Photos by © Jane Fulton Alt, 2007-2013

"These photographs are part of a series begun in 2007 when I observed my first controlled prairie
 burn," writes Jane Fulton Alt.  "I was immediately struck by the burn’s visual and expressive 
potential, as well as the way it evoked themes that are at the core of my photographic work."  
The Burn" was selected for the German Photo Book Award in 2014.

Previous to photographing controlled burns, Alt’s subjects were births, and then the end of life and
 the preparation of the body after death.  When her grandchild was born at the same time that her 
sister was diagnosed with cancer, Alt embarked on the photography of controlled burns, a subject 
that was continuous with her interest in cremation practices, and the cycles of life and death. 
 Controlled burns help maintain native ecosystems, the ash enriching the soil. Some plants 
require the high heat of fire to germinate.  Alt photographed these burns, not as a study of 
practical fire ecology, but for the opportunity to explore, as she writes, “the ephemeral moment 
when life and death are not opposed but are harmonized as a single process to be embraced 
as one”.

Jane Fulton Alt photographed controlled burns in Lake Forest, Illinois twice each year – the burnings
 take place in the spring and the fall – over six years, and the intimacy of the photographs is surely 
a result of that extended investment of time. 


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