Transitioning Over to Landscape PhotographyJune 2, 2021
It’s been a while but I’ve certainly been busy, especially when it comes to my photography. I’ve spent a lot of the pandemic thinking about precisely what my photography is for, exactly. Why do I make images?
I think most photographers spend time thinking about this question as well, especially in this age of social media. There’s just this pervasive sense that my photography has been cheapened somewhat by the hunt for approval. As a means of self-expression, art is certainly meant to be shared! But the Like game distorts both the creation and the receiving of that work. It certainly made documentary photography difficult when I was doing it out of my own curiosity rather than getting paid for it.
So what is my photography for? It’s a means of self-expression, certainly. I enjoy several genres of photography - but is there one that speaks from a truer place than the rest? I think back to my work in nearly - wow, 20 years of shooting. And landscapes are what I come back to. Always landscape images.
These were all taken 10 years ago or more but still speak to my love of scenic views. And as someone who has made a life’s practice of working with and through his anxiety and depression, there’s nothing so healing as getting out into Nature and just Looking. The drive up the mountain usually involves my mind chattering away, questioning why I’m even bothering. But the drive down leaves me wondering what I was upset about, to begin with.
It’s magical, really. Honestly, it works even better than my meditation practice - or rather, it works incredibly well in conjunction with my meditation practice. I also note how my mind picks back up once I descend back into the city…As if the concrete, lines, signs, traffic, and music all re-awaken some untamed, domineering mental space inside of my psyche.
Strange times for me….
So I’m heeding that call and moving away from people-oriented photography for a while. And since landscape photography is such a slow, contemplative art, I’ve picked up a trio of DP Merrill cameras. I wrote briefly about Foveon months ago and never quite kicked my love of their output. They are slow, contemplative cameras that reward a similar thought process. So I’ll be continuing to use them for the foreseeable future - and I’m already loving the results.
I’ve also decided to move to New Mexico for a few months, if not longer. There’s something to being out in an old land where Mind hasn’t fully reworked the landscape that’s palpable to me. I haven’t felt this excited since my time spent in Alaska. There’s an energy here that inspires me and I hope I can represent what I feel through my newfound appreciation for landscapes! I still see travel in my future…I’m dreaming of revisiting Yunnan, China, and doing landscapes in the Cangshan Ranges as I once did back in 2011…But with the borders still closed, that remains a (not too) distant dream.
There are a number of places on my bucket list to explore. White Sands National Monument (the first image in my series of old photos) was somewhere I got to explore in 2009 as part of an Americorps work project. As my very first taste of what New Mexico has to offer, I have to return and do some more photography. The Sandias have an endless selection of photo opportunities, as I’m now finding. But I also tend to travel throughout the state. Valles Calderas, Bandelier, the Santa Fe National Forest, Shiprock…The limit is pretty much my endurance and my wallet!
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