Tasmanian Times


On mountains of sawdust


As Tasmania continues to be divided by the proposed Pulp Mill and the upstream processing of native old growth and plantation timber, many parts of the world continue the unpacking of it’s ‘delusion of entitlement’ to consume natural resources.

Aperture Press have just released “Sawdust Mountain” a book by Eirik Johnson.


A culmination of four years of photographing throughout Oregon, Washington, and Northern California, Sawdust Mountain focuses on the tenuous relationship between industries reliant upon natural resources and the communities they support.

Timber and salmon are the bedrock of a regional Northwest identity, but the environmental impact of these declining industries has been increasingly at odds with the contemporary ideal of sustainability. In this, his second book, Johnson reveals a landscape imbued with an uncertain future—no longer the region of boomtowns built upon the riches of massive old-growth forests.

Johnson, a Seattle native, describes his photographs as “a melancholy love letter of sorts, my own personal ramblings.” Through this poetic approach, Sawdust Mountain records a region affected by historic economic complexities, and by extension, one aspect of our fraught relationship with the environment in the twenty-first century.

EIRIK JOHNSON (born in Seattle, 1974) is an assistant professor of photography at Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Boston. His work has been exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago, George Eastman House, and Aperture Gallery. His first book, Borderlands, was awarded the Santa Fe Prize for Photography in 2005.
TESS GALLAGHER (essay) is the author of fifteen books, including Moon Crossing Bridge, poetic elegies to her late husband Raymond Carver.DAVID GUTTERSON (poem) was born in Seattle in 1956. His novel, Snow Falling on Cedars, won the 1995 PEN/Faulkner Award.

Further information on the book and other titles produced by Aperture are provided below:


Author Credits: [show_post_categories parent="no" parentcategory="writers" show = "category" hyperlink="yes"]


  1. Richard Butler

    June 22, 2009 at 3:26 am

    I think the trouble so often is John – that subjective shit, objective shit and the sub texts of emotion, economics or analysis are terms that are little understood. But Shit is well understood, and forms the basis of just about every key performance indicator and subsequent performance review for most every individual across Liberal and Labor members of government, and many in the various departments.

  2. William Boeder

    June 22, 2009 at 2:45 am

    I can only wonder how the directors of Gunns Ltd, including those persons involved in their plantation schemes can hold their heads up high and proud?
    The people in this State know full well that both Gunns Ltd and Forestry Tasmania are clear-felling, (or by their supposed more environmental friendly form of selectively logging 97% of the allotted areas,) then of their bulldozing the remnant small growth into windrows and then torching the lot.
    By the way, Forestry Tasmania will say they’re operating within the aegis of the Tasmanian RFA.

    This agreement be but a snotty bum-wipe rag, as for all that it does for protecting any of our wildlife, their habitats, our waterways, our atmospheres, along with the rest of the evils dwelling within THEIR CRIMES AGAINST NATURE AND UPON ITS PEOPLE-OWNED ANCIENT FORESTS.
    The very essence contained within the link as sent in by the above, J A Stevenson, (of which I warmly thank him for his taking the time and effort to so do,) shows the might of greed and corruption that has announced itself to be a by-product of Forestry anhilations throughout the entire world.

    Tasmania is certainly not unconnected to this form of ruinous destruction, then of the weak corrupted responses by the very operatives of these 2 Tasmanian entities!

    The half-arsed attempts by the Heads of both these forest raping entities must be recognised for exactly what they are, nought but shifty and destructive greedsters!

    Bring on the Greenpeace movement to wreak revenge upon them.

  3. john hayward

    June 22, 2009 at 12:33 am

    We don’t want any of that subjective shit here in Tas, which we usually jeer as “emotion”. We also don’t much like that objective shit either, known as “economics” or “analysis”. Just shut up until we are finished, the coast clear, and the sale is completed.

    John Hayward

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