Photography is an exploration for me, a quest to capture elements of the abstract in nature. Before taking a photograph, I spend extended periods of time getting to know the natural light, colors, shapes, textures and motion in a defined geographical area — a short stretch of beach, a tidal pool, a salt marsh. It is through this process of intimate discovery that I identify the subject matter and the abstract qualities I wish to emphasize. In the creation of the images, I often attempt to blur the line between photography and painting.
I use a digital camera and print on archival paper with archival inks. For each image, I currently print a maximum of ten prints (and one artist proofs in sizes that can range from 16 x 16 inches up to 40 x 40 inches for square images and from 16 x 24 inches up to 40 x 60 inches for rectangular images.
Project Statement: "The Measure of Light"
I have long been interested in the way my mind shapes how I see.
For example, when I cast my eyes to the horizon, I see how quickly the mind measures, frames, and categorizes the scene, latches on to form and shape, and instinctively divides the world into categories such as “earth”, “sea”, “sky”. Is it possible to see past these mind-made boundaries? What remains when I shift my gaze and distill the horizon to its pure visual essence?
To explore these questions, I spent many months photographing the same spot on the distant ocean horizon in Downeast Maine at different times and different days. I deliberately de-focussed the lens to create a softened gaze that transforms sharp boundaries into seamless transitions of color and dissolves familiar forms: no “sea”, no “sky”, no “horizon”. In this way, I found that my eye was liberated from the familiar constraints of form, and was released into an immeasurable field of pure light. The huge variation of color that emerged from photographing the same spot in this manner was startling.
I arranged strips from these formless photographs into triptychs, creating combinations that allow the viewer to explore in a new way the range of light and color as it varies from hour to hour and day to day. The end result are images that use the visual essence of sea, sky and horizon to invite contemplation on the nature of perception itself.
Project Statement: "Uncharted Constellations"
In this series, I have set about transforming the sparkling highlights of the day-lit winter snows of northern Maine into imaginary star-filled nightscapes. The constellations in these images are charted only in my imagination. They evoke both real and other-worldly night skies. For me, the series is a meditation on the mystery of the night skies that reminds me of the fluidity of time, space and the endless wonder of stars.
This series grew out of my frustration with specular highlights — those dazzling, overexposed white spots that appeared in many of my photographs of ice and water taken on bright sunny days. I found myself spending many hours in the digital darkroom trying to tamp down these visually distracting spots that are often also fringed with unnatural-looking colours. One day, in a fit of frustration, I decided that instead of fighting them, I would make specular highlights the subject of my photographs. In so doing, I have in essence embraced a limitation of the digital photographic process to create images that transport me beyond the bright snows to other nocturnal worlds.
Project Statement" "Intervals"
What is Time and how do we experience it? We describe its passage using an array of familiar terms: hours, days, weeks, years, and so on. These conventions fail to capture our personal experience of Time: its fluidity, variability and elusive nature.
In this series I explore Time’s malleability by weaving together conventional measures of Time with my visual experience of it. I begin by taking de-focused photographs of the same subjects—sky, clouds, sea, horizon—throughout the day, over many months, to capture the quality of ambient light that is unique to a particular place and time. To create each image, I choose a time interval and a fixed number of photographs to use: for example, nine moments from Fridays in Maine, or 48 moments from February in Wyoming. Following these time-based rules, I select photographs and arrange them into grids using the interplay of color as a guide. Each final image is an abstract visual expression of my own journey through Time.
Project Statement: “Frozen Light”
During the colder months I wander along the shore, among frozen crevices and tidal pools, observing the endless variations of the texture of ice, and the shapes and colors that lie beneath. Occasionally when light, temperature, terrain and time of day all coincide in just the right way, the ice blooms with a startling luminosity and richness of color, as if it were bathed in its own inner radiance. For me there is a hint of sadness in this fragile beauty, given the uncertain future of our changing climate. “Frozen Light” attempts to capture this illumination which reveals itself only in the darkest months of the year.
Project Statement: "Adagio"
One of the great mysteries in my life has been that, even when my heart is breaking from grief, I can still find moments of light and joy. A moment of sadness may be transformed into one of profound delight when I stop and immerse myself in the sound of the wind in the trees, the curve of a blade of grass, light shimmering on the ocean, or simply the sensations of breath itself. In the Adagio series, with petals floating and dancing through time, I celebrate such moments of joy-filled connection that have been so uplifting during difficult times.
Project Statement: "Flow"
In this series I explore the dramatic transitions of colour and form that occur from moment to moment in one small area of a fast-flowing tidal stream. As the waters ebb and flow, forms appear and shift as colours erupt and coalesce, in an endless play of organic movement. Using very fast shutter speeds, the undulating surface motion is captured, like a fleeting memory, as the water flows on. For me it is a poignant study of the momentary nature of time itself.
Project Statement: “Route 1”
Anyone who knows Maine also knows that one can spend many hours in a car. The Route 1 series initially emerged from this simple fact, but has since evolved into an ongoing body of work in which the act of moving from one place to another, be it by car or foot or other means, is crucial to the creation of the images.
Each image in this series is taken while in motion and is thus shaped by velocity, time, terrain, road surface and the camera’s shutter speed. While moving, I am forced in a split second to reduce passing scenery to its essential visual elements and as I press the shutter, I allow the complex motions of the vehicle or the body to accentuate the basic forms, colours and textures of nature.
Project Statement: "Unleaving"
In the waning days of autumn, after the wonderful parting burst of colour, I explored puddles and tidal pools where fallen leaves had landed. I expected to see fading and decay, but instead I found surprising and often subtle beauty, intensified all the more by the encroaching darkness of the evening. For me, these images conjure up wisps of memories of my mother and her decline into and through Alzheimer's where there too, as I watched the fading away, the softening of lines and the dissolution of realities, I also caught glimpses of her inner beauty shining in the darkness.