Oct 21, 2009

Here I go again

Into the woods that is. This time it's the Rockies, 9,500 feet up in late October. It's snowing lightly, quite beautiful but also quite wet. It's not cold enough to form powder, not sure whether to be happy about that or not. My feet and hands are soaking wet and I'm wishing for a hot tub, shot of whiskey and a naked woman, in that order.

I'm writing this from the self-named "bat cave", pictured above. I'm not sure what the dark mass is to the right of my head but if this were Jeopardy I'd take "Bat Guano for $100 Alex." They say misery loves company but in this case I'm glad I have no furry companions to share this space with me.

I've established a base camp of sorts from which to shoot more "Time in the Woods." It's about a half hour hike up from the trailhead, near a stream, quiet, peaceful. I'm on the southern-facing side of the mountain and as a result these woods are populated with Aspens as opposed to the fir trees on the northern face. At this elevation all the leaves are gone, but the white bark of the aspens creates beautiful reflected light, especially at sunset. Today however the sky is off-white and the trees are dark tan from the melting snow.

I've decided to continue working on this series instead of trying to create resin or latex-based photo sculptures from my skin portraits. Those portraits lack the kind of sensual power I want for them, and using less-than-powerful images as the foundation for a photo sculpture seems like the recipe for a house of cards.

It's hard to give up on an idea that still intrigues me yet whose execution eludes me. I'd like to believe that there's nothing I can't do (except unfortunately turn this bat cave into a whiskey-soaked hot tub orgy) and I console myself by saying that's probably true given infinite time and money. But I'm in the Rockies for the next seven weeks so why not take advantage of it by spending time in a beautiful setting doing something I love.

OK, so what am I doing here, artistically speaking? Trying to capture the passage of time yes, trying to give light it's authority yes, creating beautiful poetic images yes. And what does all that add up to? Simply put -- images with power.

Recall Sugimoto's Theatres or Seascapes and one of their most striking attributes is the power they convey. Like Sugimoto's work, the art that I most admire --Richard Avedon's portraits, Jackson Pollock's paintings, Fred Sanbeck's string sculptures, Richard Serra's steel sculptures, Frank Lloyd Wright's buildings -- all achieve tremendous visual or spatial power. And most do it with a minimum of content. So apart from freezing my ass off, that's really what I'm out here doing; creating energetically powerful images with a sparesness of content. And since a photograph always has to be "of" something, I chose the woods as my subject matter as it has a lot of personal associations for me as a place of renewal, grounding and beauty. It does have a dark side as well, as I discovered in Ligonier, and I'm anxious to experience that again in CO. But first, I gotta turn up the hot tub.

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