|All images © Mariana Cook|
Mariana Cook’s new book Stone Walls: Personal Boundaries examines one of mankind’s earliest and most enduring methods of defining territories – the stone wall. Sculptural and practical, majestic and humble, the dry stone walls showcased in the book capture a fundamental relationship between human beings and the landscape. The book was conceived by Cook, the last protégé of Ansel Adams, at her home on Martha’s Vineyard on the day before Thanksgiving in 2002. After 56 cows strayed through a crumbling section of the stone wall she shares with her neighbor, Cook studied the tumbled wall and was struck by its beauty. With that inspiration, she spent eight years traveling to farms, towns, and temples in Peru, Great Britain, Ireland, the Mediterranean, New England, and Kentucky in pursuit of dry stone walls. The photographs portray the wall in landscape, the wall in abstract form, and the return of rocks to nature. Cook is fascinated with the juxtaposition of stones and geometric composition, as well as with the resonance among walls of different cultures. The walls were photographed by Cook between 2002 and 2010 and were built as early as 3600 B.C.