Scott Norris

Location: Sacramento, CA
Nationality: US
Biography: Scott Norris is a fine art photographer and freelance science writer based in Sacramento, CA and Inverness, CA. His photography is the latest stage in a life-long inquiry that has encompassed studies in cultural anthropology, poetry and... read on
Public Story
Credits: scott norris
Date of Work: 07/01/17 - Ongoing
Updated: 02/23/21
Location: Array
Archived as:  , ,
In this difficult evolutionary moment it seems to me essential to pay close attention to the powers and potentialities of our bodies, and their deep ecological entanglements. The mutual residing of ourselves and nature within one another is the fundamental condition of our existence, however much we may ignore or become distracted from this truth by the ephemera our of culture, our politics, and our own life stories. This reciprocal becoming of seer and seen, the outwardness of perception and the inwardness of things, is what Maurice Merleau-Ponty called “the flesh of the world”. In choosing the word “flesh”, the philosopher made clear that what he was suggesting was not some abstract or transcendent unity, but a comingling of different registers of carnality. Seeing the world as flesh  opens the door to new (or very old) ways of thinking human and non-human life-worlds. It becomes (again) possible to speak of eros of nature, an ecology of desire.

In creating this work, I wanted to focus on the body and its connectivity to the natural world from a male perspective. In doing so I wanted to make my own body visible in the landscapes I was photographing, to step through the plane of separation that conventionally leaves the photographer a disconnected, hidden observer. In our cultural history the female body and nature are linked, as objects of male gaze and domination, while the male body’s own connectivity with the natural world is seldom considered. Yet it is through our bodies that we as men or women each constitute a part of what is human, and are woven into the environmental fabric of the earth. 

The work also draws on my personal history of meaningful experience in the Mojave Desert. I seek to depict an intimate and sensual relationship of co-perception between my own body and those of desert plants, particularly the ubiquitous creosote, a kind of personal totem. Standing naked among them I experience something primordial, free from the societal dictates that govern and delimit the lives of men. No longer a stranger, casting my gaze outward from a place of concealment, I become part of everything I see, and am seen by everything in return. The plants then emerge not as objects of my gaze but as subjects with their own constellations of perception and centricities of meaning. The camera acts as mediator for these other perspectives of which I am a part. The female figure is also included here to reflect the inevitable overlay of sexual difference in my experience of nature, and the presence of the feminine within myself.  It is through such relationships of un-hiddenness and co-residing that our continuity with this world is persists.  

Also by Scott Norris —



By Scott Norris / Array


By scott norris / California — Following my father’s death, I had the disorienting experience of registering his absence from the enduring..


By Scott Norris — Open series, 2016 - ongoing On a series of travels in the Netherlands I have been been photographing coastal..


By scott norris / California — Interstate 5 appears on the map of California as a straight line connecting north and south. Although it..
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