Leviathan by Morgan Ashcom
I photographed Leviathan over the course of roughly three years during which I spent around four to five weeks annually at an anarchist community in rural Ohio. From my first visit, I felt it was connected to something outside its immediate place and time.
I had begun reading stories of the sea during this period, and I found the themes of obsession, power, politics, fate, vice, our relationship to nature or god all around me. A few months into the project, the shape of a whale appeared in one of the images, and the place that I had been photographing started falling away in my mind. I started to notice other threads to the sea within the work I’d already created. The symbolic tradition of whales and leviathans goes back a long way, from Thomas Hobbes to Herman Melville, Job and Jonah.
Sometimes places of disparate cultures and geographies are linked. This connection lies beneath the surface, and its meaning is ambiguous. Even the Appalachian mountains looming around me got their name from the Native American word “apala,” which translates as “great ocean.” The sequence of photographs in Leviathan suggests a narrative where these worlds have converged.
Morgan Ashcom lives and works in Queens, NY.
To view more of Morgan's work, please visit his website.
You can purchase a print of Untitled #15 from Fraction Editions.