Enhanced Varieties: Seduction in the Land of Plenty
Enhanced Varieties is a suite of Jell-O® -toned silver gelatin prints reproducing Carleton Watkins’ 1889 photograph, Lake George Cling Peaches.
In the 1880s, land barons began advertising to easterners, encouraging them to invest and settle southern Californian. Carleton Watkins, renown for capturing the sublime in nature, was hired to depict the irresistible economic opportunities of the region. Despite a desert climate heavily dependent on irrigation, Kern County, California, was marketed as a land of inexhaustible agricultural potential. Watkins’ photograph of a crate of peaches is most emblematic, illustrating lushness beyond measure while overlooking the true costs of cultivation where water is scarce.
We all know the success of this characteristically American marketing scheme. With the help of agricultural technology, farmers flocked to this region to grow a new reality — America’s fruit basket. Today we have come to expect limitless plenty and limitless choices. We offer you Watkins’ Peaches as an icon of the triumph of the technological improvement of nature, engineered and marketed to keep us expecting more.
Appropriating this iconic image, we chose to tone silver gelatin copy prints in twenty of the most popular Jell-O flavors our current technology is capable of seducing us with: