Victoria Sambunaris creates large-scale photographs that document the intersection of the natural and the manmade within the American landscape. Each year, Sambunaris embarks upon a lengthy journey on the road, using a large format, five-by-seven wooden field camera to document what she encounters. She aims to capture the way in which humans inhabit the landscape, and to highlight the need to consider the long-term impact of the continual cultivation and development of the land.
Combining in-depth planning and research with a laborious mode of shooting and developing, sometimes waiting days for the right conditions, Sambunaris’s photographs communicate a deeply layered sense of place. From 2009 to 2011, Sambunaris covered the 2,000 mile extent of the border between the United States and Mexico, travelling from Brownsville, Texas to San Diego, California and framing the expansive landscapes within her photographs in an attempt to comprehend the essence of the border culture and the divided landscape. For her most recent project, Sambunaris has been working in South Texas photographing the geological and ecological implications of the energy industry in this area.
Victoria Sambunaris was born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania in 1964, and currently lives and works in New York. She received a BA from Mount Vernon College in 1986 and an MFA from Yale University School of Art in 1999. She has held teaching positions at Yale University and Sarah Lawrence College, and is currently Guest Critic at Yale School of Architecture.
Her work has been widely exhibited in museums and galleries throughout the United States including National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; Museum of Modern Art, New York; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo; Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago; Contemporary Arts Museum Houston; and New Mexico Museum of Art, Santa Fe. Her work can be seen in numerous collections throughout the United States, including those of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo; Lannan Foundation, Santa Fe; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; and Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.
Sambunaris has received numerous awards, including the Charles Red Fellowship in Western American Studies, Brigham Young University (2015); Aaron Siskind Foundation Individual Photographer’s Fellowship (2010); and the Anonymous Was a Woman Award (2010). A monograph of her work, Taxonomy of a Landscape: Victoria Sambunaris, was published by Radius Books in 2013.