Sarah Eick: America and the gold rush

Sarah Eick: America and the gold rush

Since 2001, Eick has travelled across America with her camera in search of locations that have stories to tell. Service stations, wooden shacks, abandoned buildings and empty landscapes have featured in her works time and time again. I asked Eick what attracts her to these spaces:

“I am in love with places away from the hustle and bustle of city life. I am inspired by the expanse of the landscape, the wide, loneliness, air and space, where the human being exists as a small element… And where thoughts and problems are pushed back into the correct proportion.”

For Eick, being within the open, wide landscapes that America offers provides her with the opportunity to step out of the chaos of life and reflect; something many of us are guilty of neglecting in our day-to-day lives. Many of Eick’s photographs contain few to no people, but depict manmade buildings such as service stations that hint toward a human presence that has now past. Eick describes this as an “abandoned civilization… I believe that this present reality is about to disappear, so I decided to use the camera to keep a record of it”

In contrast to the ever-growing hustle and bustle of cities such as New York, Eick brings the viewer back to “old America” with its references to “the gold rush, John Steinbeck books and Hollywood”. Eick notes that many of her photographs depict scenes that will be recognisable to the average viewer from Hollywood films and famous photographer’s works. In re-visiting these sites Eick hopes to be able to provide an alternative perspective; her use of familiar sites paired with soft pastel tones and bright lights adds a nostalgic filter to these scenes, as if they were visuals from the artists own memory.

When looking at Eick’s latest photographs I found myself beginning to wonder what lay within the landscapes beyond the photographic frame, what surrounded each service station? I allowed my mind to create stories around Eick’s images; as my mind wondered into countless possibilities, I caught my thoughts and realised that ten minutes had already passed. The more time I spent looking at Eick’s photographs, the more familiar they seemed; Eick’s “old America” no longer felt 4,000 miles away from my desk in England.

Words by Emma Bourne

Artist Sarah Eick