LAND & WATER SERIES
The ocean beckons; it calls upon our desire to find answers, to conjure peace, and to seek our destiny. Mankind knows the forces are simply too strong to be left at will, so in order to settle… we build, and we build stronger. Isn’t that the human evolution, after all?
Whether perpendicular to the shore–a groyne, or parallel–a breakwater, there is beauty that resides in these structures, their placement, and in their protection of our coastline-driven desires. There is poetry in the sea… the twice-daily rise and fall of the tides, and the shifting sands. There is also poetry in the beach-battering rhythm of the waves. But it is the Breakwater Poetry that is most ironic in that it is mankind’s attempt to control the uncontrollable and provide an illusion of comfort.
An endless horizon, a sense of loneliness, yet a feeling of calm overwhelms me at the same time. This desolate environment where I find myself is somehow remarkably warming amidst the cool silence. I am calmed amongst these ethereal waters and serene sky. I’m not sure if I’m in this world or another, but I must say that at this given moment I feel enlightened. We do not know what lies beyond this horizon until we pick ourselves up, gain strength, and carry onward.
Desolation is not a negative word… look beyond the void and see the light and beauty that surrounds you. No matter what others will say does not exist, there will always be a world within you that is yours, and yours alone. Desolation is about the beauty of the emptiness, the strength in the void, and the power of the light.
Once many years ago, I had driven through Utah on a long road-trip home and can remember being breath taken at the time. However, it was not until my recent photographic trip to Moab that I could really dive into the landscape and create an artistic vision that I present to you in this body of work. One cannot help but to think about how similar this landscape must be to that of another planet, specifically the fourth one from the Sun in our own solar system. “4th Rok” arose out of this vision of how it would be to walk along the Martian landscape. Not the Martian landscape as it exists today, but how it might exist thousands of years in the future after man has been terraforming the planet for centuries. An atmosphere with skies and clouds will have formed, plant life has begun to grab hold, and the environment will slowly become more forgiving to the human race.
In my mind, I put myself exactly there during this trip and it was all I would let myself think of, in fact. The light is different, the smells are different, there is no solid sense of direction, and what appears to be close will only fool you once you begin to walk towards it for 5 minutes and realize it looks smaller than it did prior. What I believe would be most fascinating, would be the extraordinary way the light lands on the surface of the planet; it can’t possibly look the same as it does here on Earth. So, from the small details to the vast landscape, I invite you to take a stroll with me into another world. I invite you to visit… the “4th Rok”
Lightness of Being
Fortitude is a word that comes to mind when I think of wading through tough times. On occasion, we all find ourselves in a state of emptiness, but it is in this very emptiness where we are able to reflect in peace. It is on these occasions that we open our eyes to all possibilities, to the things that lay right in our grasp and cause us to grow tall. Many times we can conquer it alone, but more often than not we must lean on those around us to provide the necessary strength in our quest onward.
We all have an unforeseen future, but one that will be filled with achievements beyond our imaginations. Let the trees in this series—that are somehow able to exist in an environment that would appear to be impossible—be proof positive that nothing is out of reach. After all, it is in this very serenity that we truly see opportunity and become guided by the Lightness of Being.
Peeking out from the shadows, an ancient secret society comes forth with knowledge of time, space, and all things that encompass our existence. Slowly, quietly, and with exact command, they will allow a few details to emerge, but only for a brief moment. We cannot simply join this society, nor can we even ask, for it is not one that a human race could possibly understand. Looking in from the outside is our only hope to catch a glimpse of the whispers, knowledge, and ongoing communications between its top members. To be honest, our beliefs would be in jeopardy if we were privy to what these members withhold from us.
Welcome to the ancient society of the “Secret Keepers”…
Is it possible to reveal the sheer essence of time in a two-dimensional space such as a photograph? It turns out that it is, even in general photography - that is to say if this general photography is of something that shows the effects of time throughout history, such as lava flows, decaying structures, and sandstone rock formations like the ones found in my “Monolithic Movement” series. I am always amazed at the sheer beauty and absolute power behind the creation of such enormous, naturally occurring monoliths rising straight up out of the ground below my tripod. These structures are formed over the course of millions of years, which is easily seen in the curves, stacks, and movement of layers within the rocks themselves.
However, this was simply not enough, in my minds eye, to bring forth this essence of time. My objective in this series is to not only reveal the effects of time as it has occurred in the past, but to actually capture it as it is happening directly in front of me at the given moment. By using long-exposure techniques, I am able to capture the passage of time within the movement of the sky above. It is this mirrored-movement in both rock and sky together that best portrays the power of Mother Nature at work. Heat, wind, and water are the driving forces of these two natural occurrences, one in our immediate presence, and one that we can only witness in its aftermath. Regardless, what you are seeing in this series is not only nature’s beauty… you are seeing TIME!
Solace of Solitude
The simple truth is that there are just times in our daily lives that finding some peace and quiet does not seem to present itself. I feel extremely lucky in the fact that I can more easily find this needed time alone when I am out photographing Mother Nature’s beauty. It is this solitude that allows me to think more clearly than at any other given moment of the hectic hustle and bustle of daily routines. As a visual artist, I communicate my thoughts more clearly through imagery than the spoken or written word (probably evident in this write-up). However, it is paramount that I find solitude in order to allow these visions to present themselves to me in the first place.
Solitude, for whatever reason, seems to carry such a negative connotation. I suppose if this solitude is never-ending then it would indeed be negative. But there can also be solace in these moments alone, void of noise and visual interruptions. It is in this solace that I am able to reach deep into my vision and see more clearly what it is that I want to communicate in the first place. I tend to fumble over my words, but as soon as I can point a camera at something, I know immediately how to speak it visually.
My objective in the “Solace of Solitude” series is to show that there can be comfort in an otherwise desolate environment. I have found my comfort and I sure hope that the imagery in this series helps you to find yours as well.
Thousand Splinters to Pull
What you are seeing in the “Thousand Splinters to Pull” series are wood pilings emerging from water, and it’s the long-exposure technique that blurs the movement of the water into a soft, ethereal haze. Many may think the name comes from the rough texture of the wood itself, and while this might be a great reason for the name, it is in fact not correct. The name is actually derived from what felt like a thousand splinters in my legs as they began to thaw out from the frigid water in which I was standing in order to capture this 6-image series.
The spring of 2015 in Colorado was what seemed like nothing but rain. Local reservoirs were flooding, creeks and rivers were running fast and overflowing their banks, and landscaping companies were backed up until late summer due to not being able to work. This, however, turned some ordinarily non-photogenic subjects into just the opposite. These pilings normally mark the parking lot boundary and sit about 50 yards from the lake’s shore, but the heavy rain put them 2-feet under water. So I waded into the frigid water knowing that I would be there for a bit; it takes roughly 15 minutes per image captured to set-up, compose, focus, calculate the long-exposure time, double-check the focus, put on the ND filters, and finally open up the shutter for the 4-minute-long exposure. However, I was not going to let some cold water stand between my vision and actually bringing it to fruition. I hope that my dedication to these images has provided you with something you will enjoy, knowing you were not the one standing there feeling splinters in order to capture. Cheers!
LAND & WATER SINGLES
Open each image to see the full frame and read the write-up (if applicable)