"There is my own spirit."
- Alfred Stieglitz on Eliot Porter's Landscape Photography
From "Lord of the Rings" to the wilderness photographs of Ansel Adams, the forest has played a principal role in our collective imagination as a site of mystery and sublime mysticism. Remarkably, ecologist Suzanne Simard's recent research demonstrated that the living, diverse organisms of the forest genuinely communicate to facilitate growth and survival. I find this phenomenon extraordinary and awe-inspiring.
In Oct 2022, during a three-week artist residency at Interlude (Livingston, NY), I began making colorful landscape photographs that picture a vibrant and multi-dimensional representation of the forests' symbiotic ecosystem. The series "In Wildness" came from considering traditional landscape photography and asking questions: How do you create a more genuine presentation of the brilliance of the natural world? How do you take traditional landscape photography, a medium based on indexicality, and how do you expand, deconstruct, and broaden it?
These kaleidoscopic photographs highlight multiple complex dynamic moments working in harmony within a single frame, drawing the viewer's awareness to occurrences beyond our perception. As in "In Wildness (In Concert)," with dense analogous colors and points of fine details, the visual experience is so visceral that it barely retains its representative form, a cascading waterfall in the Catskill Mountains. All color manipulations happen in-camera as on-location interventions. I am continuing this project, photographing during Spring, Summer, and the Snowy White Winter to enact a turning of the seasons.
Eliot Porter wrote in his book, "In Wildness Is the Preservation of the World" (1962), that photography is a powerful tool capable of being used as both propaganda and a weapon for the defense of the environment. With this in mind, "In Wildness" invites viewers to witness the secrets and energies of the natural world, where trees whisper and the earth hums. Through this work, I aim to inspire action and promote conservation efforts to protect these critical (magical and awe-inspiring) ecosystems.