July 16, 2010

I Found the Process of Entering this Juried Art Competition Delightfully Rewarding

Look | Sensory Inspiration

(I am mailing today my submission for the Franklin County Biennial inaugural juried fine art exhibition.  The theme is Confluence.  Click images to enlarge.

My friend and teaching colleague Peter Chilton designed the Biennial's website and logo.  Take a look.  His keen and creative input has greatly influenced the design of this site.  Thank you Pete!)

I moved to Franklin County 4 years ago and was immediately taken with the land:  abundant rivers, sublime cornfields and trail-laced ridges.  I feel expansiveness, openness, greater than in Boston or the city's suburbs where I had previously made homes.

I came to teach photography after two decades of work, primarily as a photojournalist.  Freed from the dictates of assignment editors, I found myself experimenting with techniques.

My experiments refined into a series of Reality-Based Abstractions, which are digital multiple exposures.  As the image combining occurs in-camera, the raw files that emerge are flat and gray looking.  I use a computer darkroom to reveal rich detail, texture and color.

Railroad Bridge
Railroad Bridge is one of these abstractions.  Bicycles whir along where trains serving the mills used to rumble.  What's next for this transportation corridor?

This bike path bridge is at left in Confluences.  Beyond the beauty of the literal confluence of the Connecticut and Deerfield rivers, the work addresses evolving image-making technology.  The top image was taken with a digital camera.  Digital grants the freedom to explore without concern for processing costs.  I shot the bottom image with a plastic, no-settings film camera.  I use it mindfully, not clicking the shutter unless the scene is just right.  I delight in the decidedly un-digital grain and blemishes.

Natural Roots
The South River flows through horse powered Natural Roots farm in Conway before later joining the Deerfield River.  Farmer David Fisher drives a team of four workhorses, pulling a harrow.  The spinning discs neutralize weeds by turning them into the soil.

Horse manure fertilizes the fields.  Hay and vegetables grow.  Hay fuels the horses.  The beautiful cycle of traditional, non-fossil fuel farming. 

Currents of the past and future gleaned from living life along Franklin County rivers swirl through my soul and fuel my artistic vision.

(P.S. Thank you Langston Hughes for your poem: 
The Negro Speaks of Rivers.)