About the Photographer
American, b. 1976
Greg Stimac took the photographs in his series Mowing the Lawn in areas throughout the United States, from Midwestern suburbs to towns in Florida and Texas, often by driving around listening for the sound of a lawnmower. The people seen mowing the lawn in his pictures are visibly diverse, from bored teenagers, to middle-aged men and women of different races, to intent senior citizens, and they operate everything from old push-mowers to well-equipped riding models. Similarly, the lawns themselves vary dramatically, ranging from weed-ridden plots and brown patches of dry grass to verdant lawns around pristine homes.
Stimac's photographs have an immediate accessibility and a light-hearted appeal: one can approach them as jocular portraits of ordinary people, or as action shots that elevate a familiar activity to comic levels of significance. Nevertheless, the work has a critical underpinning. The series, through deliberate formal repetition, draws attention to the mundane labor required to maintain a lawn and it accentuates the sweeping importance of this American ritual. In the end, the scope and variety of Stimac's survey underscore the predominance of the lawn as a social and aesthetic norm—the expectation, even across different socio-economic classes, that one's yard will conform to a certain appearance.
In the United States the manicured lawn is so common that many people have a hard time imagining a different landscape around their homes. Historically speaking though, this vision was introduced to earlier generations—and steadily reinforced in the public mind over the course of the twentieth century—by mass marketing, popular magazines, and a growing lawn industry. The inside cover of the case to Stimac's Mowing the Lawn portfolio is lined with bright green Astroturf. In the end, this artificial and highly aestheticized material shares a lot with the manicured grass lawns that it mimics.
Greg Stimac received a BFA in photography from Columbia College Chicago.