Meander Boundary, Fort Morgan, CO, 2013

Con-form-ation

The Eastern Plains is a sparsely populated region of Colorado that is subject to a diverse mix of land use.  A large part is given over to raising crops or grazing cattle, which if not carefully managed, can decimate the land.  Beyond that, the energy business, which until recently was a small presence in the area, has been expanding rapidly, encroaching on or even overlaying the agricultural spaces.  It is still unclear if the three can co-exist and how these changing dynamics will impact the land(scape). 

At first glance, farming in Eastern Colorado looks so neat and tidy, the rhythms of the lines and shapes of the various crops and seasons can be mesmerizing.  Yet it is clear that there is a tenuous balance at work between man and nature at many different levels.  Farming depends on a multitude of factors, and nature is always ready to take back the land given the opportunity. 

Colorado is an energy rich state, both in fossil fuels as well as alternative energy such as wind and solar, yet exploitation of that energy remains a controversial issue.  Expansion of these activities into the seemingly unpopulated Colorado plains seems like a good idea, yet they do have an impact.  Pumpjacks, windmills, power lines, and pipelines all forever alter the subtle and sometimes fragile visual beauty of the region.

Viewing a cattle feedlot from the air will make you instantly realize that it doesn’t belong.  The vast expanse of unnaturally black ground sticks out on the horizon and cannot have a positive effect on the environment, the cows, or, ultimately, on us.  Our obsession with having cheap, plentiful meat in this country is leaving its mark on the land.

These issues are often overlooked by people who don't live in Eastern Colorado, and Con-Form-ation provides a visual record of how these changes are altering the Eastern Plains.

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