I have not often written much about work I was doing this early in the term. Partly because I quite often take on other projects or personal work that was unrelated to the MA project I had been pursuing. However, since I needed to be away from Scotland and the site where my project is based, I have been using this time to explore a different aspect of my landscape work, expand on a project that has been underway for about 12 years, and to push my skills even further.
I have talked in the past about the inspiration Axel Hutte provides, in particular his landscapes which betray no sense of place or time. Jem Southam is another photographer whose work is similar in the sense that it often belies place and time and yet, like Hutte, conveys a mood and often an intimacy of perspective.
Since I was only going to be back in the US for about six weeks, I also decided to travel lightly and only packed one camera body, Canon 5D MkIV and two lenses, 24-105mm f4 and 135mm f2 along with ND filters and a 1.4 extender. This choice has the added benefit of limiting the type of photographs I could reasonably take to the more intimate landscapes I intended.
My South Carolina house sits in the middle of a heavily wooded 8.5 acres and over looks a 5 acre pond on the lot adjacent. I designed the house in 2006 in a style that merged a Japanese and Frank Lloyd Wright aesthetic with some Western sensibilities, but the essence of the house was open flexible space with views in every direction and a clear intent to blur distinctions between space to space within the walls and between the inside and outside.
I have always loved and photographed the views from the house and enjoyed watching how they changed from day to day, season to season and year to year. My photographic skills have improved significantly over the past year and it seemed a good time to see what I could make of this very familiar place. Here are a few examples.
While I certainly know where these photos were taken and the place holds special significance to me, to any other viewer these photograph can represent anywhere and therefore contain a universality that allows a viewer to imagine or believe these are places they know or have been. I am pleased with these photos and believe they offer a line of enquiry for my practice in the future.
I took an opportunity during a short stay in New Jersey just after my return to the US in January to photograph a lovely waterfall I encountered. I had seen it the prior day, but the light was poor and so when the weather and light became more conducive I returned to the site.
I choose lengthy exposures and acute angles to capture the nuances of the light and shadows and the differences in the way the water came over the spillway on to the rocks below. The middle frame explores the varied textures of the stones of the dam as well as those in the river below the dam. Once again the intimacy of the framing does nothing to reveal its actual location and as such again make it familiar to any viewer who seen a waterfall somewhere. These too I feel are successful photographs.
I do believe have room to continue to grow and explore this type of photography and can certainly explore the moods that would result from different lighting conditions. I enjoy this type of work and it sits well as an element within the direction my practice is taking.