In 7th grade, Evan Anderman MS ’93, PhD ’96 developed an interest in landscape photography. He was outdoorsy but also scientifically minded, his young brain was attracted to the technical side of the craft. But it would be decades before his creative, geology-informed aerial photography would win awards and be recognized by Colorado media outlets.
Anderman, a Denver native, left Colorado only to attend Phillips Exeter Academy and then Princeton University. He returned after graduation with a degree in geology and worked in consulting for a few years while taking a part-time photography class on the side. He then decided to pursue graduate school at Mines, where he studied geological engineering.
After a series of consulting gigs, first with Wright Water Engineers in Denver, then with the USGS writing computer-modeling code for a group developing a regional scale model of the Yucca Mountain site (that was released as several packages for the MODFLOW program), Anderman took a job with the groundwater hydrology firm McDonald Morrissey Associates. At around the same time, Anderman’s father died. He had been a petroleum geologist and operated a small, independent oil and gas company. After selling his father’s domestic and Russian assets, Anderman decided it was time to get out from behind a computer screen and back into nature. He officially left his desk job and become a photographer full time.
He refers to his style as social-landscape photography. Anderman, a pilot, captures the beauty of the earth by shooting out the window of his plane while flying on autopilot. An Arctic cruise served as one of the pivotal points for his current airborne approach.
“We disembarked in Iceland and I rented an airplane, I wanted to shoot from the air. It was a two-hour flight and I got some incredible shots,” including one that hangs on the wall of his Denver studio showing the metallic braid of an Icelandic river slicing through a mountain range. That photo was awarded the inaugural Photo District News Duggal Image Maker Award at the PhotoPlus Expo in New York in 2013.
Since that first inspirational flight he has traveled the globe, but his favorite subject is Colorado’s eastern plains, an area he used to explore in his youth.
“At first, you think it’s flat, it’s brown, it’s bland, and then your eyes shift down and you start seeing stuff like this,” he said, pointing out the color and pattern variations of a farmer’s terracing as seen from above. “It’s gorgeous Decay is not the story happening out there. It’s a vibrant community of people doing interesting things.”
The series of photographs, called ‘Imposition,’ illustrates how man imposes himself on the landscape. From agricultural development and feedlots, to oil and gas exploration and drilling platforms, Anderman’s birds-eye view shows man’s impact on the land.
“I hope I can spark a conversation,” he said.