Mister Graves’ Nuclear Landscapes, Life-worn Faces

Mister David Graves does many things, but this post is about his gorgeous photography, and about his charity walk across Oregon in support of the Oregon Food Bank. More on that in a moment. In fact, this post is just about two aspects of his photo-repertoire, while there are several. For instance, Graves has taken plenty of photos of beautiful women and forgotten cemeteries, but today I’d rather show off his nuclear landscapes and life-worn faces.

The shot below is titled “They Make Milk Here”.

Arresting, yes? This is one of a series of vertical panoramas, another one of which is below the jump. Uncle Tarkovsky would approve.

Much of Graves’ work explores nature – sometimes coexisting in contrast with civilization, other times wild and exceeding all, with objects of human development becoming lifeless artifacts, left behind by an environmental revolution.

Dead House

Another dimension of Mister Graves’ work takes on cities, society, and its casualties. His photos of the homeless are, to me, among his best. On Flickr, these portraits are often accompanied by short blurbs of how the shot came about. This is Sally, captioned, “She asked for change, I asked for a picture in trade. She showed me her tattoo.”

Graves is far from a spectator with a camera. After years of working for various non-profits and going through a number of skin-thickening experiences like hitchhiking across parts of America, he’s decided to spend ninety days walking for charity. He leaves next week.¬†On his website, WalkingOregon.com, David Graves states:

I believe that access to real food is a basic human right. This philosophy is in line with the work the Oregon Food Bank does, and therefore I have chosen them as my charity for this event. All donations, minus personal expense, will be given to the Oregon Food Bank to support their efforts throughout the state. It is my hope that through the kindness of individual donors, and aided by numerous radio interviews/newspaper articles, I can raise $40,000 for the Oregon Food Bank.

My walk will begin and end at the State Capitol building in Salem. The event is planned to last anywhere from 80 to 100 days, with a scheduled start date of April 5th. My planned rate of walking is 15 miles per day, but I am leaving room for various setbacks, such as sickness, closed roads, and theft/robbery. My walk will begin heading east from Salem until I reach John Day. From John Day, I will walk north to Umatilla, and back west to Portland. From Portland I will walk to the coast and continue south to Coos Bay. The final leg of my walk will take me from Coos Bay to Springfield and back north to Salem. Many of my nights on the road I will be camping, in an attempt to keep my personal expense as low as possible. Any couches/hotel rooms that can be offered along the way will be of great help.

David is taking his cameras along for this journey, and he’ll be documenting his adventure online, which I’m really looking forward to. You can follow his progress on the Walking Oregon Facebook page.

Click the jump for some of my favorite shots by Mister Graves.



Trees near Netarts beach

Mounds of Earth

Roots, Exposed

Oakland Underpass

Creeping Doom


Self, February 2010

A Portrait of Two Cows

8 Responses to “Mister Graves’ Nuclear Landscapes, Life-worn Faces”

  1. Carrie Clevenger Says:

    This is a spectacular feature. Looking at Sally I see my own future. Creepy. Brill work and thank you for being the best out there CH.

  2. Vivacious_G Says:

    Ooooo, yes.

  3. selizabeth Says:

    Wow. This really renders one sort of speechless. Really awe-inspiring, on *every* level.

  4. jmrowland Says:

    It makes me feel simultaneously exalted and shitty to find someone doing, better, what I’m trying to do.

    And somehow it figures that I would find it at Coilhouse.

  5. Mer Says:

    Oooo. Gorgeous and unsettling. Lovely find, Z.

  6. Jaye Says:

    “All around me are familiar faces, worn-out places, worn-out faces…”

  7. Chris L Says:

    Yes, thank you! The colour in that first piece, and “Mounds of Earth” is especially exciting. As for “Creeping Doom”, it would be a brilliant photo without the title – but with it, it’s even better.

  8. Natasha Says:

    Real, raw and in a way, beautifully heart-wrenching. This just goes to prove that even the potentially unpleasant side of life has the potential to be beautiful.