Bluffs, shelters, overhangs, and caves, I have been drawn to these areas like a moth to a flame. A small crack in a sandstone bluff can lead to an erosive environment, where the freeze-thaw process can create a masterpiece worthy of seeing the light of day.
PHOTO PROJECT: INTO THE ROCK
Rock, the foundation, it is what everything else is ultimately built upon. It appears to be permanent, but it is in fact in a constant state of change. Even in our lifetime, we can observe this slow process, but for the most part we are left with viewing the past from a great distance in the present.
The Into The Rock Project is a process of looking at the environment and nature stripped down to the basics. It is a way of looking at the natural world through shapes and textures and letting the rock tell a story through a simple snapshot in time.
This project was conceived several years ago on a cold late-fall day, when the blazing colors of autumn were just a memory and its stories of growth were resting on the ground. The whirlwind of excitement of photographing the end of the season were replaced with a stark, empty landscape, that matched my mood. It was like coming off a 3-day sugar high and dealing with its after effects.
Out of habit, I took my camera out on a short hike and contemplated what I could photograph for the next five months, until the warmth of spring returned. It was too early for snow and not cold enough for ice, so winter photos and icefalls were out of the question. Living on a farm for most of my life, I was intrigued about putting together a farm project, but I knew that I wanted to get away from the house during my days off. High on the short list was photographing the sandstone bluffs that were a constant companion on my hikes in the Shawnee Hills of Southern Illinois.
Over the years, visiting these bluffs had become almost a spiritual experience. As a struggling man of faith, I had come to see God and the handiwork of creation in the simple complexity of layers in the rock formations that I observed on my hikes. I have more than once found myself getting lost in deciphering the makeup of a bluff and wondering in amazement how they formed and the time frame it took to see what was currently in front of me.
Rocks, easily became the project that I found myself in. It allowed me to combine spiritual and creative aspects in a photographic form that renewed my interest in discovering the uncommon among the stark landscape of hibernation.
Using a camera with a wide-angle lens helped to distort and bring to life what appeared to be lifeless. Shooting in black and white took away the distractions of color photography and with the process of digital editing allowed me to dodge and burn certain aspects to make the photo leave the photographic sphere and herald it into an act of creative expression.
The photos that are part of this project, like many projects could never stand alone as individual works, but as a series they represent a look into nature at its foundation.
So it is here now that I present Into the Rock: A Journey into the Self.
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