12 Hz by Ron Jude

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Jude’s latest title is a reminder of the scale of natural forces, which have operated independently of our anthropocentric experiences, billions of years before us, and for billions of years to come

Cooling lava, tidal currents and glacial ice cascade through Ron Jude’s latest photobook, 12 Hz. “A lot of things are said, in a lot of places, a lot of words cluster about, and thoughts buzz around them in clouds like flies, and ideas clot within them like disease,” says a short text that accompanies the images. “And beneath all the ideas and thoughts… Beneath all of this is Rock.”

A professor of art at the University of Oregon, Jude’s work often explores the relationship between people, place, nature and memory. Made between 2017 and 2020 around mainland US, Hawaii and Iceland, the images in 12 Hz depict rocks, glaciers and volcanoes – vast, living entities, captured in stark black-and-white. But there is a patience to the landscapes that Jude captures – a sense that they are not moving in any timescale set by humanity. The title of the work refers to the lowest sound threshold of human hearing, alluding to forces of ungraspable scale, operating independently of our anthropocentric experiences.

During a time of ecological and political crisis, Jude’s work is a reminder that these forces have been erupting, collapsing and growing, billions of years before us, and will do so for billions of years to come. We are merely its temporary guardians, and it will endure, even if we do not.

Image © Ron Jude, Courtesy of Mack Books.
Image © Ron Jude, Courtesy of Mack Books.
Image © Ron Jude, Courtesy of Mack Books.

12 Hz by Ron Jude is published by Mack

Marigold Warner

Marigold Warner joined the British Journal Photography in April 2018, and currently holds the position of Online Editor. She studied English Literature and History of Art at the University of Leeds, followed by an MA in Magazine Journalism from City, University of London. Her work has been published by titles including the Telegraph Magazine, Huck, Gal-dem, Disegno, and the Architects Journal.