Pictura Gallery

Fotofest Gems | Lee Day

October 13, 2022

4 Clipping Suburbia Pictura G

Lisa and I just got back from Fotofest and we saw a lot of great new work. Over the next couple of weeks, we will be sharing some of our favorite projects from this year’s review sessions!


Lee Day’s landscapes feel like moving images. I get the impression that they are still changing before me as I look at them, and I imagine them jumping, shaking and erupting off of the paper. 

Day captures the scenes in Clipping Suburbia from the window of a moving train and then feeds the data into an artificial intelligence program on his cell phone. The images are a result of how the program pieces together the information fed into it. In a sense, his photographs demonstrate how our devices see the world.

The way that AI interprets data causes certain features to echo while others are repeatedly erased. One of the ways that this manifests in Day’s images is the complete expungement of water from his scenes. I found this particular detail so interesting, because, in a way, the AI is unintentionally mimicking our behavior of eradicating our water sources. 

As I continue to look at the images, all I can see are natural disasters. I feel roads vibrating in the middle of an earthquake. I see pieces of buildings and homes swirling in the air as if I were floating through a real life version of the Wizard of Oz’s tornado. I imagine the strange blurriness of trees and walls dissolving into each other and melting away is the result of a nuclear blast.

The logarithms process the natural world in a way that feels eerily similar to the way humans have consumed its resources. When I look at these photographs, I can’t help but imagine that the generated images are reflecting back the destructive effects of human actions. I see the natural balance disrupted by droughts and a changing climate. And even though I know that artificial intelligence is designed to imitate human behavior, it is uncomfortable to see the consequences of our harmful habits repeated and echoed in these photographs.

- Mia Dalglish

See more of Lee Day’s work here

All works shot in 2019, published 2021