This article originally appeared in the May 2012 issue as "The Natural."
Lori Nix is a "faux" landscape photographer. In other words, she builds her subject matter, rather than seeking it out. Her dioramas are precise snapshots in a longer story—surreal narratives with epic consequences. Varnished with a dash of humor and a touch of doom, her fantasticl landscapes arouse a perfect balance of curiosity and trepidation. Her built landscapes include remote pastures, suburban corners, and urban towers, and, quite often, her work depicts the quiet confrontations between these worlds.
Matt Ritter is a botany professor at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, director of university's plant conservatory, and author of a new field guide, A California's Guide to the Trees Among Us (Heydey Books, 2011). I recently visited Dr. Ritter at his Southern California home, and he gave me a tour of his favorite local plants, his eucalyptus-decorated office, and Cal Poly's wonderful herbarium.