This exhibition shows the global spread and impact of a uniform, homogeneous model of development: that of large-scale residential communities and urban sprawl.
Over more than 10 years, this project has documented the entire development process, from the construction boom to the current crisis, through photos taken in the United States, Spain, France, Greece, United Arab Emirates and South Korea.
Anonymization reproduces the landscape of anonymity: the mass construction of houses, macro-communities, shopping centres, motorways and car parks. This project offers us an opportunity to observe the similarities that a globalised way of life has stamped onto the earth's topography.
Pittman's camera takes us to countries that are far apart—Spain, the United Arab Emirates, France, Greece, the United States and South Korea—to prove that they are all, in fact, quite alike. Despite the harshness of his photographic subjects—construction cranes, close-ups of pavement or restaurants abandoned after the property bubble burst—they are poetic images strikingly devoid of people. Through the silence and aesthetic beauty of these shards of reality, Pittman also portrays the lifestyle of the 21st-century human being. This sameness is not limited to cities, for our lives are also becoming more and more similar: we follow the same schedules, wear the same clothes and have the same needs as other modern humans, which have ended up creating the landscapes we see in this exhibition. The existence of increasingly standardised models brings a loss of roots and individuality, while also accelerating the destruction of the environment—consequences whose full scope remains to be seen.
"These images—many of them haunting in an arid way—remind us by contrast of how much we long for real places, real texture, real homes, real communities. In many cases they're the face of the housing bust, but also some much deeper bust, in the way we've been thinking (or not) about the world." Bill McKibben (US ecologist)
Robert Harding Pittman grew up between Boston and Hamburg. After obtaining a Master's degree in Environmental Engineering (UC Berkeley), an area of interest that is still present in his work, he completed an MFA in Photography, Film and Video at the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts). His work centres on the interaction and relationships of human beings with their surroundings: culture, environment and landscape.
Anonymization is the result of 10 years of work on this theme. Pittman has just published a book by the same title with Kehrer Verlag that was nominated for the Deutscher FotoBuchpreis (German Photobook Award). His photographs and documentaries (distinguished with several awards) have been shown at film festivals and international exhibitions and can be found in many public and private collections.