Shelli Foth


student bio

I was born in the summer of 1990 and grew up in a large family in a small town in the Pacific Northwest. As a child I spent a significant amount of time playing outside and I credit this with my love of the outdoors and an interest in land use and landscapes, traditional, urban and suburban.

Upon moving to Denver this love of the outdoors has only increased and developed into an impetus for art making. I am interested in the interaction between humans and land, and how those relationships can be symbiotic or detrimental. I will be completing my Bachelors of Fine Arts in May of 2017 at University of Colorado Denver with a concentration in Photography.

artist statement

This work is inspired by my fascination with the suburban landscapes. I moved to the suburbs outside Denver in the fall of 2016 and experienced culture shock as I examined the new environment. Naturally I turned to my camera to help sort out this new place as I began to notice just how big everything is: a super-sized Target, multiple housing developments, 9-plex movie theaters — even the car washes are on a scale unlike those I had ever seen.

This scale is enhanced by the comparatively flat and treeless landscape of the areas surrounding Denver. The work focuses on these suburban areas, and particularly the landscape that suburbia creates with its sprawling housing and huge box stores. In many ways the wild west is being slowly taken over by suburbs and shopping centers. In this project I endeavor to document these lands, and to reexamine the way in which the lands are being used.

These photographs are made in tradition of landscape photographers who were working during the western expansion documenting how the lands of the American west were changed and conquered with the introduction of settlers into them. They aim to document a new landscape that has emerged today in the areas surrounding the city of Denver. The photographs document how the needs and customs of modern life have reshaped the land they inhabit.