Posted on December 12, 2014
I’m always looking for new ways of creating images and expanding my perception pf photography. Recently I’ve been looking for ways to create images that encompass formats and techniques that span the history of photography. The Beyond series is a new approach to image making for me. The images in the series are comprised of 4×5 negatives taken with a pinhole camera and mixed with elements taken with a variety of digital cameras. The formats range from the early days of photography to the latest technology. The elements of the images themselves were sometimes taken years and thousands of mile apart transcending space and time.
The images portray a surreal land that exists beyond the normal perception of time and space. At first glance the land appears real and believable. Upon closer inspection the viewer will quickly notice something amiss with the image. In reality everything in the image is real. Things just didn’t exist the way they are depicted in the same time and space.
Here are some scans of 8×10 Archival Pigment prints on Epson Velvet Fine Art Paper.
Posted on November 4, 2014
Here is the gallery of images offered.
Posted on June 9, 2014
One of my images was chosen for CPAC’s 2014 Annual Members Show. 65 images by 57 photographers were chosen by juror Mark Sink from more than 450 images submitted by 90 members of CPAC for the show. http://www.cpacphoto.org/2014/05/2014-members-show
The image is part of a larger series of surrealistic images based on the persistence of dreams. In this series the specific concept is the girl of my dreams. The images were created with a 1954 Rolliecord medium format camera and shot using black and white film.
/ Restless Beauty 12″x12″
Posted on April 18, 2014
Over the years I have struggled immensely with what the value and purpose of my photography should be. The simple road would be to create pretty or trendy pictures that appealed to the masses. Marketing savvy would be paramount to skill, technique or vision along this route. Money, fame, adoration, at least among your social network, would all be relatively easy to obtain.
The other road is desolate, harsh, lonely and far more difficult. It involves sacrificing a part of yourself that you never ever recover. When you create from your heart, soul and mind a piece of you dies and in turn lives on in your work. Solace is achieved through the satisfaction of being true to oneself and through a higher purpose.
When I moved to Colorado in 1998 and began photographing the landscape my purpose documentary. I wanted to preserve my experiences and share them with others. Over time this evolved into the desire to create images of pristine and beautiful landscapes. I traveled to many of the same locations that the famous photographers of prior generations had. Unfortunately I was always disappointed. The places that they had photographed no longer existed, at least not as they did in the images. Man had left his mark and changed these places forever.
Two of the most apparent changes were roads with their signs and telephone poles with their lines stretching across the sky. Vapor trails from jet airplanes were another problem but I gave up trying to work around them very quickly. With the advances of digital photography and programs like Photoshop I was able to remove some of the troubling elements and signs of man from the images. The pretty pictures were popular but I always felt that they were a lie. What had become of the landscape and these great locations was deeply troubling to me.
In 2011 I once again set out to create images that captured the beauty of the American West. One of first places that I visited was Taos, NM. The are countless images of the San Francisco de Asis church in Ranchos de Taos by the likes of Ansel Adams, Edward Weston as well as artists like Georgia O’Keeffe. There has been several changes to the church and the surroundings since those images were created. Most of the changes I found objectionable to images that I wanted to create.
I found myself forced to use tight cropping and heavy shadows to hide or exclude what is in reality the truth of the location. If you were to travel to the church you would have a hard time seeing what is in these images unless you looked through a lens. There are just to many distractions that take away from the place. I began to ask myself if there was value in hiding the truth to create a pretty picture or was it harmful.
On a few subsequent trips to New Mexico I visited a few ruins. These places were built by people that had no electricity, machinery or steel tools. They were built entirely by hand from natural materials that were gathered locally. One Pueblo had returned to the earth from which it had come. Only from an overlook could you see what appeared like lines of dirt. These were where the adobe walls once stood and had melted back into ground. The only sign of man was broken pieces of pottery and chips of stone. The ancient people that lived here left little trace.
Chaco canyon was another place that I visited. The structures here were far more elaborate and made of stone. It was truly a remarkable place. Once again the had of man was everywhere. Every time I composed an image there was a road, a sign, a piece of trash or a car in it. People had lived in the canyon for century’s and left nothing but sticks, stones and pieces of pottery behind. Now metal, plastic and paper litter the area.
One of the first really troubling things that I discovered was the amount of vandalism that had occurred to the rock walls and Petroglyphs. This turned out to be very common in the places that I visited in New Mexico and Utah. The Petroglyphs, such as this one of a bear hunt near Moab, were often riddled with pock marks from bullets and graffiti. Most of the graffiti was of some idiot writing his or her name in an act of conquest.
After this same scenario repeated itself over and over everywhere I went, I questioned the validity of hiding the truth in order to create the pretty picture. For awhile I had to abandon landscape photography altogether. I spent the better part of a year photographing people and street scenes. It made me take a closer look at what we are leaving behind. Unlike the people that lived in Chaco and the other ruined Pueblos, the things that we leave behind don’t melt into the earth. Most of these things come from far off places and are not made of natural materials.
These issues ate at me for over a year. Early this year I attempted to once again create beautiful landscape images with little if any sign of man. Immediately this was a problem. After spending so much time photographing in an urban setting I found myself drawn to man’s relationship with and impact on the land. I decided to photograph the telephone poles, the roads, the buildings and junk that is left behind. No longer do I feel the need to hide the truth in order to create the pretty picture.
My creative efforts and images now have a higher purpose. My desire is for the viewer to decide what is or isn’t beautiful. I want people to stop and ask themselves; Is this the best we can do? or is there a better way? Just maybe it will inspire someone to come up with a better way that has less impact on the environment for us and future generations.
One of the reasons this matters is the impact waste has on all of us. The use of raw materials and energy leaves its mark on the landscape and effects the environment. Waste makes this impact far worse than it needs to be. All energy production has an impact, some of it more than others.
A few months ago I began the Random Colorado project where I will travel to 25 random locations in Colorado. The idea is to learn a little about each of these locations and look at man’s relationship with the land and impact on the environment. The project is a mix of conservation photography, history and on occasion true and honest beauty. So far I have visited 14 of the 25 locations. Without question we have had far more impact on the land since the late 1800′s than all the people that came before us. This problem is only going to get worse as the population increases and consumption goes up unless we find a better way.
Pretty pictures aren’t often the truth or reality. They are lies allowing people to live with delusion that what they do doesn’t have an impact. Why are we so drawn to the beautiful, pristine landscape image when we do so much to destroy it in reality? I don’t have the answer and I’m not sure anyone does. I do hope that my images will cause people to pause and ask themselves; Is this the best we can do?
What are we leaving behind and what is the cost?
Posted on April 15, 2014
Omega is one of those places that you really have to question why they are still on the map. Unfortunately Omega has long been a victim of urban sprawl and swallowed by Ft Collins. Other than a neighborhood reference in real estate listings nothing appears to remain of Omega.
The only thing I found to photograph that would tie back to Omega was an old cottonwood tree.
The Rolliecord version:
Posted on April 15, 2014
Sinnard is or was a small rail stop north of Ft Collins, Colorado along I-25. Not much exists there today and what does is modern. There is a livestock auction house and a hardware store but other than that there isn’t much reason one would visit today.
Posted on April 15, 2014
I had only been to Greeley one time before this trip. It’s the largest city in Colorado that is not located along the interstate. Apparently Greeley didn’t want to lose the agricultural land and chose not to have the interstate run near it. The agricultural influence is evident everywhere.
Greeley has a long history in Colorado. It was established in 1869 as a utopian community based on seven principals faith, family, education, irrigation, temperance, agriculture, home. Greeley became a city in 1889.
These are the pinhole images from Greeley:
Some images taken with the Rollicord:
Posted on April 9, 2014
Crescent Village is the least interesting of the random places that I have visited so far. Basically it’s a newer housing development in the mountains off highway 72. The area is nice but lacked any indication of a long or interesting history. Much of the canyon that highway 72 runs through was damaged by the historic floods of 2013. Work is still being done to restore the creek, bridges and properties that were impacted.
Posted on April 9, 2014
Hessie, CO is basically a ghost town with a few buildings remaining. Located west of Eldora and near Nederland, CO it sits at the bottom of a valley, across from Eldora ski area, were two streams meet. It was settled as a mining camp in the late 1800′s and named after the founder’s wife. The town lasted a short time which is quite common for mining towns. Today it serves as a trailhead for some popular hiking trails.
My trip to Hessie was a bit of an adventure. I was expecting a short hike, 1/2 mile tops, on a warm and sunny day. It was warm and sunny but very windy. There was also about 3 or 4 feet of snow that I wasn’t counting on. Unfortunately about a mile of the road was closed that I didn’t know about before I grabbed my gear and and headed out. My half mile hike turned into 2.5 miles in snow. I got a little wet from sinking waist deep in a few places but otherwise it wasn’t to bad. I imagine it’s a great place to hike in the summer.
Posted on April 9, 2014
I’ve been to and photographed Central City many times since 1999. I even exhibit my artwork at a local gallery. When I first visited there were several small casinos and most of the buildings were occupied. Over the years many of the casinos closed or were replaced with larger ones and the vacancy rates increased. Things seem to be a little better now but it’s a tail this city has seen throughout its existence.
At one time, during the gold mining boom, Central City was the richest place in the US. Many buildings were built from stone, including the Opera House. It must have been something to see back in it’s heyday. Overall the city has done a good job preserving the old buildings and it’s overall character.
These are some images I took with a Holga medium format camera last summer.