William Mark Sommer (b. 1990) is a film photographer residing in Sacramento, California. Mark has earned his BFA in Photography from Arizona State University and he has exhibited over the United States and Internationally. Mark also has self-published 10 zines, and has been featured in publications like Stay Wild, Float, Aint Bad, Booooooom, Analog Mag, The Modern-Day Explorer, among others.
Within Mark’s series he utilizes a long-term documentary mode of storytelling to explore themes of human nature, preservation and empathy. He photographs to further his understanding of a diversity of human experiences, exploring what we hold dear and how our actions shape our environments. He looks for his work to challenge stereotypes by showing the unseen and giving a voice to the misunderstood.
About ‘Dusted’ – words by William Mark Sommer:
Beneath the chopped toxic mountains of the rural Southwest United States the sprit of Manifest destiny is continued within the ever-expanding mining industry. This paradoxical idea of divine conquest has been perpetually pursued within these companies as they take land, deplete resources, shutter, and move on. Although this cyclical process is destructive to nature and devastating the communities that have grown to service these mines, nothing is given back when the ore is gone and the cost outweighs the profit.
By conveying this complex history of mining, in Dusted I seek to address the whitewashed narrative of America’s history; a version too often presented in history books and museums. In research, I found these narratives of history tend to only show glory and not the failures of the past, and by doing so this history continues the exploitation of the present. In utilizing historical writings, reenacted history and showing the true destructive nature that persists within the giant open pits that pepper the landscape, I look to reveal what was left in the wake of false promises and hopes.