A technique I have long used for finding photographs is moving before stopping. An area, object or moment captures my imagination as I pass, and I then proceed to work at an image (Harry Callahan walked to do this; I tend to drive, due to the massive expanses of the West). In the case of this image, the billboard first captured my attention, and after working the image for more than an hour, I finally settled on this composition, and waited for a train to pass.
I know, I know: I’ve been gone a while, again. Since the last post in June, I’ve been busy teaching at Santa Fe Photographic Workshops, and making a bevy of new images for my now-named project, “A Giant Thirst.” The project is inspired by an Edward Abbey quotation, given to me by a close friend and fellow photographer, Melinda Green Harvey (who should also be congratulated for being named to the 2016 Texas Photographic Society Members Only Exhibition).
In any case, I’m not going to spend any time explaining the image, per the Robert Adams verse I provided in my previous post; my hope is that the image speaks for itself.
The school year’s over, and except for a few meetings, a vast world of photography awaits me over the next 3 months! It’s my favorite time to shoot, since I can make good time in the field, make tens of thousands of images, and return to my photographic life. I’ll be working on a number of long-term and new ventures during this time, including my rural rodeos project, my abandoned project, and a new, super-secret project that will start appearing here in the next few weeks.
Until then, here’s one of my favorites from the Abandoned project: Doors, St. Elmo.
The Recollections project is about memory: how it is formed, the illusions within, and its temporal existence. What are our memories?
The goal: To make us question the very nature of our own “reality.” In that reality, how sharp is our own version of our past, and of others’ pasts?
I’ve shot this homestead before; it beckons to me time and again as I travel a lonely stretch of road in one of my favorite states, Wyoming. It has a voice, this singular structure, and on a storm spring evening, I gave in to temptation.
A storm rolling in on the horizon, a rodeo roper, his wife, his dog and his portable steer offered a compelling chance for an image with insights into the summer rodeo life in the Nebraska Sandhills.
I love shooting rodeos–after all, they’re the subject of my next book. And at rodeos, wild horse races are by far one of the most energizing, terrifying events for a photographer. Horses and people bucking and running and shouting and riding all mean lots of danger, and that’s a certainty if one isn’t careful.
But the photos are worth it.
I’ve always liked the last line of Tolkein’s The Return of the King: “Well, I’m back.” And so I am, after digging out the studio from a mound of baby clothes and papers after a nearly four-week absence. I had a wonderful group of students at the Santa Fe Photographic Workshop, and I learned more from them than I’m sure they learned from me (which is how it usually works). Since I’ve been back from New Mexico and Colorado, I’ve been on a fair number of shoots as I try to develop the details of my upcoming Nebraska Arts Council exhibition in 2015, but the call of rural rodeos is strong.
The Rural Impressions show opens this Friday at the Graham Gallery in Hastings, with a public reception from 6-9 pm on Saturday. Featuring 40 images from different series of work over the last five years that examine the complex relationships between the rural West and the land itself, including the image above, the show is meant to inspire viewers to contemplate the myriad forces at work in the rural Great Plains and American West.