Decaying dresses make photographer’s landscapes personal

Photographer Jean Albus is known for literally dressing up the landscapes she captures near her south central Montana home.Β She leaves dresses to weather in her harsh surroundings before photographing them, sometimes for as long as four years. Her final images sometimes feature a dress as she’s found it, sunken into the elements. She also often superimposes the worn dress over another image of the landscape, floating the decaying dress within “Big Sky Country.”

Ascention by Jean Albus.

“It’s one thing to take a picture of the landscape … but to make it personal and to produce an emotional connection in the viewer, it was important to me to inject something into the photograph of me. And the dress became that,” Albus describes her work in a new video explaining her process.

Dead of Winter by Jean Albus.

She also hopes to invoke emotion through the weathering process:

“It’s amazing to watch how the elements affect them so that it brings to mind thoughts about aging, and thoughts about memory and transformation, transition, change,” she says.Β The video in support of an upcoming exhibition of her work in Seattle, Washington shows Albus in action:

Jean Albus – Ineffable

You can learn more about Albus on her website.

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Creative and well executed, and more important they mean something special to the photographer, her theme of aging. I don’t get all the criticism … I’m reminded of commercial artist John Falter in the 1970’s who was commissioned by 3M for a bicentennial series of six large oils, and hid a contemporary artifact in each, ie a pencil, or plastic Baggie, etc. But maybe the gear-heads here arn’t much for creativity or art, not that all art is my taste.


It’s always disturbing to see other people’s fetishes.

Wye Photography

If the photographer had done this with underware instead of dresses, could the photographs then be described as pants?

nicolas guilbert

Some quite good ones among the 30 on her website.


Original but not very environment friendly.


No less friendly than an animal carcass laying about. Apparently she takes them back after completing the shot.

I’m sure the earth can handle it.


Original? Like eating caviar with ketchup.


<i>”She leaves dresses to weather in her harsh surroundings before photographing them, sometimes for as long as four years.”</i>

So, after waiting four years, she photographs one and pastes it against a picture of the sky and….voila!…art?

Keith Reeder

Contrived, pretentious drivel.


Worthless gimmickry rather like Dali has done in the world of fine Art. My test is how long I would want that on my wall at home – 5 minutes max’.


Since I saw a gallery full of photographs of anus i believe anything is possible….. i call it the contemporary trash and we don’t deserve it.


Art?.. but these pics don’t convey any feelings.. none, whatsoever.

There is a name for this kind of stuff: Vanity Art same as Vanity Publishing, google it.

Anyone has the right to call their work art, by all means. I simply don’t like this particular representation of it. Cheap, gimmick, try harder.

My main concern is why dpreview chooses to highlight her work.


I think this is clumsy and pretentious nonsense.

At least Dali was clever, creative, thought-provoking, and humorous.

ObPhotoContent: the “Dali Atomicus” photo by Phillipe Halsman, representing an extreme macro interpretation of atomic particles in suspension. No Photoshop or LR, just water, cats, string, and 28 attempts.


I agree, Dali offers room food for thought.. about the work and perhaps even more about what was going on in his mind. This stuff shown here lacks any depth whatsoever, at least in my eye.


Dali: rotting corpses, coprophilia, transgender messiahs, mutiliation. Plus egregious commercial aplomb. All a matter of taste. Take your pick.


Surprising how many are left cold by these images. Greg Fallis’ comment on her website (“Not just any dress”) expresses his (and my) feelings about her work so eloquently that I can’t add a word. What makes me visit dpr every day is the huge diversity. The speed with which the site has expanded to cover all imaginable aspects of photography from tech to art is impressive.

Mister J

Love the taste of Rene Magritte in these images, so I count as one of the arty ones and would like to view her show.

Vid didn’t do too much for me though – probably better using micro-clips, and maybe a minute or so long.

(Edited for spelling)


Yup my first thought was Magritte as well. Or a Mike Oldfield album cover.


No, no,
as (former) art teacher, I should stay at negative side evaluating these photos/compositions. To use dresses in assemblages it’s not bad idea, but there are other (better, from my point of view) ways to depict their entity, for example reinforce with gypsum and paint with spray, etc. etc..


I don’t think this passes the April the 1st test: if what bean-of-good-sense you might have would lead you to avoid publishing your ‘art’ on April the 1st, then you should pause and reflect.


Deeply artsy fartsy. With more of the fartsy than the artsy.


Think I’ll take some shots of my snotty hankies or old socks. Some art-farty types are so easily conned that this stuff is has any value.


Look so cool and interesting

Mister J

Nice imagery.

The vid doesn’t seem to work on my iPad though.

Jeff Seltzer

To all the haters below…don’t worry, I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before DPR features your museum quality pictures of babies, sunsets, butterfly macros, and cats…hold tight!


I was just thinking along those lines. Or more that gearheads and forum trolls really aren’t really the type to comment on this kind of story.

Personally I’m not quick to judge- I’m going to let this stew for a while before I have a final opinion on it.

TN Args

Excellent photos, thanks for the article. Pity about the ignorant commentators.

Ernest M Aquilio

I agree


Ignorant of what? Bad taste?

Keith Reeder

Nice Straw Man there, Jeff.

Proof that there is indeed one born every minute…


Wow, what can I say. And this is ART??


Well if you got outta ur moms basement and lived and experienced the world and saw real art u wouldn’t open ur pie hole and erase all doubt that you live in ur moms basement ..


I don’t find the concept very appealing for viewing. Everyone’s taste is different but this is a bit extreme in my opinion; like mixing fish with cake in culinary I would say. I really like the landscapes though; as if they were completely “undressed” πŸ™‚


Thank you DP Review! These photographs are compelling and distinctive in a good way. So many landscape photographs are impersonal – most can’t be identified with a particular artist the way, say, a Rothko is immediately identifiable. These images are creative and speak about this photographer’s concerns, and are beautiful as well. While everyone has a right to their views and individual tastes, I was dismayed by many of the comments, which dismissed them crudely and quickly – these comments reminded me of similar comments that greeted the first Impressionist exhibits, and Van Gogh’s work, etc…. The thoughtful critiques here are another matter; even if thoroughly negative, they can be constructive.


Sorry, but there’s more art on a Laundromat.

Each to his/her own.

Nobody’s right, nobody’s wrong.

It’s not all gray and flat.

On a Laundromat.


G Cogger

This proves either that you can create art from almost anything, or that you can take almost anything and claim it to be art.


Define art.

Optimal Prime

Artsy stuff is great. But not at the expense of camera reviews. That’s not why I visit this site.

Given the prodigious backlog of reviews, shouldn’t DPR put more effort into clearing it and finally be as current as other major review sites?

Gerard Hoffnung

You apparently believe that it’s a one or the other system. I’m sure that dpreview is more than capable of showing other photographers artwork without sacrificing the technical nitty gritty so beloved of some commenters. Isn’t the whole point of photography to create an image. Some of photography’s most iconic images have been created using equipment that doesn’t hold a candle to the quality even a modern point and shoot can do. One of the reasons I really like this web site is that it inspires me with some of the images created by brilliant photographers as well as keeping me up to date with the latest technology. Most modern high quality cameras can produce images far beyond the needs of the imagination of most of us and definitely beyond my limited capabilities.


Yeah exactly another review of a machine so more soulless images can be created by mindless imaginationless photo geeks and talk mega pixels , lenses and other things that mean nothing other then u know the mechanics of how it work ..


Actually I almost look forward to articles like these more than the reviews themselves. I love the reviews but stuff like this is about improving the most important piece of gear in the photographic process: the photographer.

Keith Reeder

Mrrowe8, you ARE aware that this is a gear site, arent you?

Not some repository of pompous, jumped-up little pseuds who make themselves feel better about themselves by trying to convince the rest of us that they’re cleverer than those who see this worthless tat for what it is?


Top one reminds me of a Dali painting. Haven’t looked at the website. I do often wonder about the clothes and shoes you see on the side of the highway sometimes. Where do they come from and why?

Gerard Hoffnung

Interesting point. I was out riding my bicycle recently and noticed a sports bra lying in the ditch alongside the road. Kept my imagination going for quite a while as I tried to figure various scenarios as to how it got there πŸ™‚


LOL! I bet it did.


i don’t find it interesting putting it mildly


if you don’t find putting it mildly to be interesting, then don’t put it mildly…


The Emporer has no clothes he is absolutely starkers!


I have a large collection of polaroids of my old underwear, would anyone like to make an offer for them?
What a load of old nonsense this is.


Clearly your old underwear is the best that you can contribute to this conversation.


To this conversation, yes. It isn’t worth more


In my walks along river beds I occasionally find remnants of clothing which have at times seemed plaintive and beautiful. However, my attempts at making empathic photographs from those findings have so far not been successful. Thanks DPreview, did not know of Ms. Albus. She has done some beautiful work.


The images on her website were much better.

Thought provoking.


Art that needs explanation is not art at all.


That’s rather pretentious.


It’s also misleading. The art shown above doesn’t require explanation. That the artist chose to do so is her decision, but it is hardly necessary to appreciate the work.


Your an idiot ..just a flat out idiot

Keith Reeder

And you’re a self-absorbed little poseur, Mrrowe8.


Cheese. But I’m sure there’s a prog rock album cover awaiting discovery somewhere in her collection.


Pink Floyd included a similar photograph opposite the lyrics of Shine on You Crazy Diamond in the Wish You Were Here lyrics booklet.


humm, that is really interesting! so much for originality!
I wish u could post a photo or link of it! πŸ™‚

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