Lance Oditt is a fine art and documentary photographer, based in Seattle, Washington, whose larger body of work explores his interests in questions related to scale, the hidden, the ephemeral and the curious in nature. While his primary subject is trees, a lifelong passion since childhood, when he could often be found aloft in an old hickory tree in rural Ohio with a nature book in hand, he is interested in a variety of natural subjects and dynamics.
In his work with trees, he records intimate dynamics that have unfolded over centuries and works to make the complex observable over time (Ex: Barkscape #1 Re-Photography Series). Conversely, he also works to document large subjects in human relatable terms as can be found in his work documenting Pando, the world’s largest tree, capturing its 106-acre expanse in immersive 360-degrees. Exploring ways to document subjects otherwise hidden from view, Lance will work for years on methods to reveal the hidden as can be found in his Sequoia Obscura Series, which documents the colorful harbors of life found in the dark recesses of coastal redwoods.
Outside of his work on trees, he can also be found recording the ephemeral, the curious and the dynamic in water, land, and sky; plumes of volcanic minerals gathering in a hot spring (Water Portrait Series), the Trees of Redwood (Forest Portrait Series) or, the re-emergence of water dynamics in ancient sandstone that has surfaced once more (The Landline Series). Inspired by the conservation work of Richard St. Barbe Baker, the philosophical postulates of Wade Davis and Thomas Nail, the photographic works of Charles Jones, Eliot Porter and Irene Kung, Lance imagines his subjects as natural historians of the places they inhabit, able to help describe everything from water and soil qualities to weather and wildlife. He listens and gathers their stories not as abstractions, nor isolates, but as part of a larger exchange. His work embodies his belief that humans are part of nature, not mere witnesses: a belief that we cannot isolate ourselves with helplessness or apathy – we are not neutral. Neither can we settle for pride or anger with the progress of science, aesthetics or, technology; the exchange is ongoing. He shares his work as he imagines we have much to learn and much to do as we have been invited to take part in a dialogue with subjects that represent hundreds of millions of years of evolution. Subjects with lifeways that, like ours, show strong bias toward sunlight, synthesis, invention, change and long-term thinking.
Lance’s work documenting at-risk or endangered forests in the American West has appeared in Discover Magazine, The New York Times, PBS Newshour, KSL TV and Digital Photographer Magazine. Lance is the Founder and Executive Director of Friends of Pando, a Utah-based nonprofit which partners with the US Forest Service to educate the public, support research and preservation efforts and inspire stewardship of Pando, the world’s largest tree. Lance’s 2D photographic works have earned commendations from the Fine Art Photography Awards and American Forest.
As a new member of the Place Collective, he is excited to learn and share from others as well as exploring new ways of contributing to dialogue with nature. You can learn more about Lance and his work online at Studio 47.60 North or, make a donation to support his teams’ work protecting Pando at friendsofpando.org.
Lance being interviewed about the Pando Photographic Survey with John Hollenhorst
Barkscape #1 Rephotography Project. (Hoh Rainforest 2016-Present)