far as we know, we live on the best planet in the universe. It is
our own Garden of Eden, at just the right temperature, with good
things to eat, and, it is the most beautiful place there is.
Humankind has accomplished some amazing things. We have created
beautiful art, architecture, music and philosophy. We have come
to understand much about the world we live in and how it works;
we can fly around the world and into space; we have made some wonderful
toys for ourselves. Yet, for all the beauty and ingenuity of our
creations, we have not improved the beauty of our home.
When we are able to get away from that part of the landscape dominated
by man-made projects and activities, one always finds spiritual
peace and rejuvenation. I have spent much of my life living in the
wilderness, and my photography is both homage to our home, and an
attempt to share some of the beauty, and solace, that derives from
wild places. We sometimes destroy that which nourishes us, and what
we love--so we need to be more careful with our Garden.
For forty years I have made of images of the landscape,
which is an endlessly delightful source of aesthetic pleasure and
contemplative inspiration for me. My quest has been to make prints
that speak as strongly to the viewer as the original experience
was to me. I began making Ilfochrome prints, which were the most
colorful, sharp and permanent print medium available. Recent advances
in digital printing have given me a level
of artistic control I only dreamed about. Now I
can control my colors, values, composition, sharpness and content
to a degree not possible in the darkroom. For me, photography is
still the art of seeing, and now I can express my vision more clearly
and strongly than ever. Artistically, this is terribly exciting. I still work from film.
I make my prints look as close to the original scene as I can remember
it. My choices of light, composition, value and color palette often
lead people to think my prints are paintings. The world is such
an astounding place that I am always in awe. The longer I live,
the more things I see. As a literalist, I don’t have much
imagination to make things up, so my photography is quite literal.
Prints are two-dimensional, simple representations,
using inks on paper, of a vastly complex world. They should be appreciated
as prints on the wall, not confused with the real thing. We expect
photography to represent "reality," but with the advent
of digital processes, we are distrustful photographs, and seek reassurance
of their veracity. While color photography is closer to visual "reality"
than any other medium, it may be time to reevaluate the usefulness
of this expectation, and allow ourselves to experience the metaphorical
and evocative qualities of photography.
It is also quite true to say that no, these prints are not "real"
at all. Our physiological perception of color, value and contrast
has a very non-linear relationship to the actual measurable, physical
attributes of light reflecting off objects. Our brains shift and
recalibrate our visual perceptions in many ways, making things look
different to us than they measurably are. Individuals perceive the
same things differently. Our expectations and projections dramatically change what we see. Visually, it is a world
of shifting sands. There is no "true reality." It all