Bremner Benedict: Hidden Waters | Desert Springs of the American West

Artist statement:

Endangered, disappearing, and gone; natural springs in a changing landscape.

Springs were essential to our survival for millennia, yet today they are all but forgotten. Since 1900, 85% are gone due to overuse and drought. In the past 7 years I’ve been photographing all types of springs in a variety of conditions in the arid lands of North America. Called windows into the earth, they reveal the health and longevity of their underground aquifers and have become a bellwether for the region’s water scarcity. 

Being an artist who is passionate about the water crisis in the West, I am drawn to their unseen story whose importance is misunderstood. Art can add depth and meaning to science. I chose to emphasize the fragility of these springs muting the colors in my photographs to evoke an emotional connection with the natural world. Springs have survived human and natural onslaughts but now they are vulnerable. They are considered one of the world’s most endangered ecosystems. If these biologically diverse, culturally important, and historically rich ecosystems are lost, our ability to live in arid lands will be impacted as well.

Yet there is still hope. If the aquifers that support them are intact, springs have the potential to be adequately restored for both human and natural purposes. By spotlighting these few remaining before they are gone, I want this work to reflect their value and predicament while encouraging a call to action for their protection.


Bremner Benedict’s images are at Fidelity Art Boston; Center for Photography, Tucson; Florida Museum of Photographic Arts; New Mexico Museum of Art; Decordova Museum of Art and Sculpture; Harvard's Fogg Museum; and George Eastman Museum. Solo exhibitions include Florida Museum of Photographic Arts; Griffin Museum of Photography at Stoneham; Texas Woman’s University, Denton, TX; and Philadelphia Print Center. The Hidden Waters archive resides in the Museum of Art & Environment, Reno Nevada; Benedict is a member of Blue Earth Alliance.

Recent awards include Project Launch Award CENTER Santa Fe 2023; Juror’s Award, Karen Haas Juror, Conversations with the Land 2022 , Center for Fine Art Photography, Fort Collins, CO, 2021; Massachusetts Cultural Council Finalist 2021; Juror’s Honorable Mention, 2021, Art and Science 2, at A. Smith Gallery 2021; Critical Mass Top 200, 2019; the FENCE, New England, 2019; Legacy Award, Griffin Museum of Photography; two Puffin Foundation Grants; and three residencies one at the Museum of Northern Arizona 2011, and one at Joshua Tree Highlands Residency in 2022; and Shoshone Art Residency in 2024; Photographer Mark Klett chose Quitobaquito Springs for inclusion in his book - Wild Visions. Lucy Lippard included 2 photographs in her book: Undermining.

Recent exhibitions include: In 2023 - Ceding Ground with Simon Norfolk and Camille Seamman at the Griffin Museum of Photography, Winchester MA; 2023; Women in Nature with Maya Goded and Alejandra Torres-Platt, at the Louis Carlos Bernal Gallery, Pima Community College, Tucson, AZ, and Reshaping Earth: Energy and the Environment, Jamie Stillings, David Emiitt Adam and Bremner Benedict, Photoeye Gallery, Santa Fe, NM.

Two images from Hidden Waters are in the Autry Museum of the American West’s Out of Site: Survey Science and the Hidden West exhibition and accompanying book by Edited by Amy Scott, with William L. Fox, Mark Klett, Hillary Mushkin, Britt Salvesen, Kim Stringfellow, Jason Weems and Will Wilson. In 2024 Bremner will have a solo exhibition of Hidden Waters at the Clark County Library in Las Vegas, NV

On exhibit at Sahara West Library from Aug 30, 2024 through November 23, 2024

Reception on Thursday, September 5, 2024 from 5 to 7 p.m.

Monday: 10:00AM – 8:00PM
Tuesday: 10:00AM – 8:00PM
Wednesday: 10:00AM – 8:00PM
Thursday: 10:00AM – 8:00PM
Friday: 10:00AM – 6:00PM
Saturday: 10:00AM – 6:00PM
Sunday: 10:00AM – 6:00PM