The Reverie Series
The Reverie Series evolved from my Urban Wilderness project. In that project I explored and attempted to reconcile the contradictions inherent in its title. Its themes dealt with relationships between built environments and natural ones and the often widely divergent meanings our culture has created for what is natural or wild.
Using similar content, the Reverie Series represents a more subjective and emotional approach. Although the landscape is still prominent, these images speak less about a particular place; rather, as the series title suggests, they function more as meditation or emotional experience. Each image is a montage made up of two or more photographs. Like the realities I perceive, the facts often are blurred: I try to take the image from actuality to some dimly seen place between memory and desire, where the landscape is subjective and the intersecting spirits of nature and humanity are suggested.
The style of this series varies from straightforward panoramas to those that emphasize the enigmatic or mysterious with a chiaroscuro of softened forms and limited palette. The latter approach has deep roots in the history of photography, going back as far as the Pictorialists of the Nineteenth Century. It also resonates with the branch of contemporary photography that uses pinhole and other simple camera formats to produce a more subjective or intimate image. It diverges from these by balancing the aesthetic of the style with an attention to topical subjects and meanings. The meanings may be ambiguous, as the forms lean toward the amorphous, but they refer to the tensions and narratives of living in an environment that is increasingly compromised or redeemed by our own actions. I am not a dispassionate observer and although the landscape I experience may be beautiful, it is never pristine. Along with photographic antecedents, my work has been informed by author Bill McKibben’s “The End of Nature,” in which he asserts that nothing on earth is left untouched by human influences, as well as other ideas of contemporary environmentalists.
But, while they may relate to urgent topical issues, the images are not didactic; they are experiential, symbolic and emotional. My central intent in this work is to express feelings I experience when confronting a particular landscape at a certain time and—paradoxically—to find the universal in the specific place and the eternal in the moment.