Sep 7, 2009

The Woods - Day 2

There's a reason why "rain" rhymes with "pain". I knew it was coming, after all these woods aren't green because of Sherman-Williams. The rain started last night and I was fairly well prepared, tho did have to cover the cameras in the middle of the night. Today is overcast and warm, occasional light showers, nothing this Brooklyn boy can't handle. I'm still happy and grateful for the opportunity to be here.

When I was at Esalen last year, one of the things that was so magical was the lack of distractions. No cell service, minimal Internet, no newspapers, and geographic isolation. The volume of the world outside was turned way down and in it's place came more appreciation for my surroundings and a greater self-awareness.

With the exception of blogging I'm doing the same here -- no phone calls, no music, minimal email (outgoing only), a journal to write in, nothing to read, and no talking. The lack of distractionss here helps me appreciate nature's rhythms and it's energetic range, from calm stillness to windy frenetic. Right now in the wake of the rain it's totally still and quiet.

I'm using five cameras for this project, four of which are shooting not just the woods but rather time in the woods. I thought a lot about what and how to shoot over the past few weeks. One of my most influential reads (thanks to Alec Soth's blog) was a chapter called "Choosing a Subject" from "On Being a Photographer" by David Hurn and Bill Jay. Here's my big take-away:

"The photographer must have intense curiousity, not just a passing visual interest, in the theme of the pictures. This curiousity leads to intense exination, reading, talking, research and many, many failed attempts over a long period of time."

I've been challenged by time ever since I've been an adult. I think it has to do with a desire to evade my own mortality. I have so much that I want to accomplish in life that I feel like I need three lifetimes to do it all. Reading that chapter made me want to blend my love of nature with my temporal nemesis. Plus it's cool to use the word "temporal" in a meaningful way.

There's something about being out here with nothing else to do but capture time's passage that slows it down for me. I take that as a temporary temporal triumph. My three 35mm cameras use an intervalometer to capture the day in 20-mInute slices, automatically exposing two rolls of film every 24 hours. (This is the same technique that I used for my "39 minutes" project.) The shutter on my large format camera is open for 24 hours at a time, capturing an entire day on one sheet of 4x5 film.

We only acknowledge the passage of time by the change in ourselves or
our surroundings. Cool an onbject down to absolute zero, where even molecular activity stops, and time, as it relates to that object, stops. Out here in the woods It must be a similar lack of significant change that slows time. In any case, If the film comes out the way I envision it, I will have two ways of sharing the poetic beauty in the slow-paced daily rhythms of nature.

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