Coming up for Air

In the last couple of posts I've referenced work done earlier this summer of wheat fields in SE Washington. Two portfolios of those are now up on the site:

Wheat 2014 Form

Wheat 2014 Function

I served on a panel discussion this past week at the Griffin Museum with several gallery owners. We were discussing  portfolio reviews, galleries and how to prepare to present one's work. Paula Tognarelli, the director of the Griffin mc'd the event and spoke at one point about how landscape photographs were often regarded by portfolio reviewers as being at the bottom of a long list of "desirables" by reviewers, portraits being another. The full two hour panel discussion was taped and is on You Tube:

Griffin Panel

I understand. Add to this resounding negative the fact that the Palouse, where I have photographed for 20 years, has become a definite go to area for many photographers and workshops and you have a location with resulting imagery that is "beauty with trouble". Cliché, redundant, overworked and boring. Oh man, what is an artist to do?

This does not negate the fact that the Palouse is ground zero for a course in advanced image making for me, and sits as the core of this photographer's aesthetic.

I have sought with this new work to create a structure around the pictures that contains them and supports them but also allows for various interpretations.  I also have worked to make the pictures essential. Thus the framework in their titles as either "Function" or "Form", referenced here.

Finally, to heap a cliché on top of a cliché, I have made another series from a cemetery, also now on the site: Bethel. Danger! Alert!

A place so pristine, so pure, so, yes, essential as to be either sublime or sterilized depending on your frame of mind. Over several days I  drove up from Colfax, 15 minutes away, sandwich or early morning coffee in hand, to be at this very small and very special cemetery on the top of a hill overlooking the settlement (not right to call it a "town"as it is too small) of Steptoe.  At the Bethel Cemetery the grass was greener than belief, watered daily and mowed putting-green close, to sit on a bench and oggle the single tree, glowing in the clear light, to think about how to photograph this place, to dig deeper and reductively, to bring a lifetime of work and understanding to something so there, to regard what my teacher Aaron Siskind said about making things "simple" and to imbue my work with, well, clarity, if nothing else.

And to reach back and light upon a lifetime of accumulated shoots, drives, trips and experiences so rich and so resonate with meaning and to try to coalesce all that into one stew of, I know(!), perspective. Can you do that? Can I?

The prints are 22 z 17 inches and may be seen by contacting Susan Nalband at the 555 Gallery in Boston.

I wish you well.

Permalink | Posted August 1, 2014