on landscape The online magazine for landscape photographers

The Slow Interview with photographer Eliot Dudik

Eliot Dudik talks about his acclaimed project ‘Broken Land’ and its relationship with the deep divides in contemporary politics and culture in the United States.

Eliot Dudik

Eliot Dudik is an American photographer and book artist with works in institutional and private collections across the globe.  His long-term projects, books, and collaborations explore the connection between culture, memory, history, and place. His first monograph, ROAD ENDS IN WATER, was published in 2010. In 2012, Dudik was named one of PDN’s 30 New and Emerging Photographers to Watch and one of Oxford American Magazine’s 100 New Superstars of Southern Art. He was awarded the PhotoNOLA Review Prize in 2014 for his BROKEN LAND and STILL LIVES portfolio, resulting in a book publication and solo exhibition.

His unique and interactive book COUNTRY MADE OF DIRT (2017) was recently acquired by Yale’s Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, and Duke University’s Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library.  Dudik produced two collaborative books in 2018: NOTHING THAT FALLS AWAY with Meg Griffiths and Zatara Press and AND LIGHT FOLLOWED THE FLIGHT OF SOUND with Jared Ragland for One Day Projects.  Dudik’s work will be included in the Mulhouse Biennial of Photography at the French Cultural Center in Freiburg, Germany during the summer of 2018.  
Dudik is based in eastern Virginia, between Richmond and Williamsburg, where he manages his active photography and book arts studios.  He founded the photography program within the Department of Art & Art History at the College of William & Mary in 2014 where he is currently teaching.


Steve Coleman

Steve Coleman is an Australian landscape photographer and was the creative director of one of Australia’s most successful design agencies for over 25 years.


Most interviews are done by phone or such like, and the interviewee has little time to think in-depth about each question. I chose to interview Eliot Dudik by e-mail, over a number of weeks, giving him the time to offer us some considered thoughts about his acclaimed project ‘Broken Land' and what informs his vision.

Battle of Chickamauga

Battle of Chickamauga, Georgia

In 2012, Eliot was named one of PDN’s 30 New and Emerging Photographers to Watch and one of Oxford American Magazine’s 100 New Superstars of Southern Art.

In preparation for my interview with photographer Eliot Dudik, I reread Abraham Lincoln’s ‘House Divided Speech’. Here’s a small excerpt; "A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure, permanently, half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved — I do not expect the house to fall — but I do expect it will cease to be divided."

The speech, given a few years before Lincoln became President, was a prophetic warning that all was not well in his world. Of the speech, he later said; "I wanted to use some ... simple language... that it may strike home to the minds of men in order to rouse them to the peril of the times." I look now at the divisions and stresses we face in our own world; political partisanship, religious intolerance, radicalised faiths, widening gaps between rich and poor, broken economies, mega corporations and changing balances of global powers.

This is a premium article and requires a paid subscription to access. Please take a look at the subscribe page for more information on prices.

On Landscape is part of Landscape Media Limited , a company registered in England and Wales . Registered Number: 07120795. Registered Office: 1, Clarke Hall Farm, Aberford Road, WF1 4AL. Midge Specs, midge net glasses from the Highlands.