The West Virginia Ordnance Works was an explosives manufacturing and storage facility constructed during World War II just outside Point Pleasant, West Virginia. After only a few years of operation the site was repurposed into a wildlife management area and a system of ponds and wetlands was constructed in its place. Today the site is a popular destination for hunters and fishermen despite the continued presence of explosive materials and contamination from TNT and its many byproducts.
The central feature of this landscape is an extensive series of TNT storage igloos which I have photographed in a serial typology to convey the massive scale of military weapons production. The igloos epitomize the transgression between natural environment and built structure while serving as a literal depiction of not only how this landscape was used in the past, but how it exists today. The surrounding landscape of forest, fields and swamp hides much of its true nature just beneath the surface.
Since much of what I’m interested in is no longer present in the landscape or may be invisible, many of my photographs refer to contamination or violence through the use of color or metaphor as a way to talk about the history of this site and many others like it. The emptiness of the landscape, photographed with a muted palette and diffused light is meant to evoke a kind of post-apocalyptic environment – one that is at times bleak and somber, but also resilient and beautiful.
All images © Joshua Dudley Greer