The arctic landscape in the winter is stripped down to its basic elemental lines, patterns and shapes of the natural world; a monochromatic wonderland of water in all its manifestations. It presents itself to the viewer with extreme and surreal beauty, silent and aloof. It is defined by the abstraction of the black lines of nature enveloped in a blanket of whiteness. As I wandered around the snow painted mountains and reflective fjords, I became absorbed in the simple act of being; observing and experiencing the wonder of this silent yet powerful landscape. This image is one of a series of photographs taken in the arctic region of Norway in the winter of 2019.
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Meditation on Snow from Triptych 1 Image 1
These photos were taken on the Carson Pass of the Sierra Nevada mountain range in the winter of 2018. During a record season of snowfall, the quiet and peaceful stillness after a storm is a welcome and needs refuge from the challenging and stressful times that we are living in today. My hope in presenting these images is to bring the viewer to a place of quiet and contemplation even if it's just for a fleeting moment.
These images are photograms that were exposed by the light of the full moon, hence the term "lunagram". Using vintage discontinued gelatin silver paper, I created my lunagrams with found plant life collected on some land in the Sierra Foothills of California, where a beautiful year-round creek supports a wide diversity of flora. Since the closest city is over 30 minutes away, the light of the full moon was the only illumination that could be detected, which created an ethereal presence on the rich vintage paper that I used. These prints were processed using traditional wet darkroom techniques, were toned with selenium and all one of a kind.
What started out as a fun adventure to shoot a few San Francisco cityscape pictures with my Holga plastic camera, turned into a two year project of exploration and rediscovery of the many places and iconic landmarks that I love in the city have called home for most of my adult life. Shooting with a Holga camera strips down the experience to the basics. You have none of the controls, bells and whistles that you see on digital cameras today. One shutter speed, only two aperture settings, manual film advance and a very approximate focus ring is all that you get with these plastic cameras. You are left with the raw materials of subject, light and the photographers's eye along with a bit of trial-and-error, to capture your envisioned image. My aim in using a Holga was to make images that look somewhat more retro in appearance, quirky and a little offbeat. The characteristics of the Holga allowed me to produce this effect quite well.