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Redefining Landscape: Series I

In the fall of 2018, I took an elective digital photography course. It was with a teacher I had only met in passing, had a fearful respect for, and was incredibly brilliant. She challenged my creativity to grow deep in ways that only one other course had scratched the surface at; her course forced me to be mindful of my takes and diligent with my art.

"Lens-based media" was how she forced me to re-think my perception of photography. Photography grew from something beyond just ink on paper to something that can be displayed spatially, augmented by sound and medium. For the first time, I recognized that visual art has the potential be as transformative as musical art.

One of my most favorite breakthroughs in this class was the prompt to redefine landscape. We were introduced to Alfred Stieglitz's Equivalence (and Minor White's accompanying analysis) to think more abstractly.

When confronted with new concepts, problems, or anything foreign, I think about it intently. I'll mull it over, chew on it, and flip the concept around in my head as one might examine a Rubik's cube or a lone puzzle piece... What's this thing? What's wrong with it? What is new in it? What does this relate to in my life? How can I equate this to known entities? Needless to say, the challenge to produce an abstracted landscape was daunting.

I struggled the first week and a half. I spent hours driving, looking around me, and to the sky based on the Equivalence series. I took a road trip to a different city to try abstract urban photography. I wound up with hundreds of photos.... all completely uninspired. I bounced from obvious idea to cliche subjects every few days.

At our first crit, a fellow classmate called me out for the half a dozen cloud photos I presented. My teacher informed me that it looked like a good collab with God—that He'd created this great thing, [I] got it on camera, and that was it. That perhaps I hadn't done much to create any redefinition on my own. And she was right.

Anyways, I'm making a long story about this when I think maybe this might be a better space to share some sort of artist's statement. To wrap it up and get onto the photographs, I'll leave it with: this is one of my favorite bodies of work I've ever produced. I hope you'll like them, too, and enjoy them. When I presented them for final crit in class, they'd been printed onto diaphanous paper and plastered onto a sheet of clear vinyl. Viewers were invited to walk around and see through the photographs—and by extension, see lightly blurred figures of those on the other side of them.

It's to chase after that slightly familiar sky, that known and liminal space, and that once-upon-a-time place. As always, these prints are copyright protected and can be purchased from my store.


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