WVU Associate Professor Michael Sherwin turned his long-term Native American presence photography project into a book called “Vanishing Points.”
The Vanishing Points began when Sherwin learned that a local mall had been built over an 800-year-old sacred cemetery and village site associated with Monongahelan culture.
Since that revelation nearly ten years ago, Sherwin has researched and photographed sacred reliefs, earthworks, documented archaeological sites, and contested battlefields across the United States.
“This work can promote awareness of indigenous land rights and the importance of protecting sacred cultural and historic sites,” Sherwin said. “Spending time with these images can inspire reconsideration of their own physical presence in this country and the ancestry of the land on which they live and work.”
Vanishing Points is a 172-page hardcover book that combines large-format landscape images with smaller still lifes of objects and debris collected from the sites. It includes essays by Sherwin, Josh Garrett-Davis, and Kristen Rian.
Sherwin combined the Vanishing Points photographs to function as literal and metaphorical vanishing points – reflecting on the monuments that modern culture will leave behind.
“I hope this work will connect with those who believe this earth and our planet is all we really know,” Sherwin said. “Living with greater respect for all lives and cultures can promote a better community and help build a place where we can all belong. “
Vanishing points can be pre-ordered and will be released in the United States on July 6.