After more than 30 years of shooting and nearly 125,000 images, I’m pleased to announce the opening of my first solo exhibition. The invitation is below; I hope you have the opportunity to stop by.
For complete information on the exhibit, visit www.elementalphotographic.com
An interpretation of earth, water, fire, wind and void
Generally, I shoot what’s before me. Partly, that’s a reflection of my time not being my own for so many years. More often than not, I was shooting with kids in tow, who threatened to run onto the road or fall off cliffs, leaving only seconds to capture whatever had caught my eye. It honed my reflexes and made me hyper-aware of my surroundings.
At that time, the sheer amount of data being uploaded to my brain kept me from going mad and released the endorphin rush one would normally ascribe to a sustained period of “flow.” By design and necessity, flow manifested itself in minute and unpredictable packets of time. But limitations are not such a bad thing. They’ve made me a more responsive and intuitive shooter.
When I began sifting through myriad photographs to cull and sort and, finally, choose images that would form this first show, the theme quickly came to the fore. I was reading The Book of Five Rings by Musashi Miyamoto, a Buddhism-infused book by a 17th-century Samurai swordsman which spoke directly to the five elements of earth, water, wind, fire and void, a simple yet striking way to describe the natural forces that repeatedly presented themselves in my work.
We think we can conquer and subsume the natural world. We think we can somehow improve on it, create a more ordered existence. But we can’t. It’s already perfect beyond the shallow limits of our imagination. We have already been granted Paradise in every soil, rock, sky and native plants and trees, and in the sun and rain that have brought life and longevity to this planet. This has been absorbed by my brain and my bones, forever altering the way I see and think and feel. We are inseparable.
But even the most elemental of my photographic pieces have overtures of the human in them, implied if not overt. A distinctive narrative structure reveals itself through detail, bold composition, the use of light and shadow, careful juxtaposition, and select revelation. What is not seen is as critical as what is, demanding a second and third look.
In shaping the show, I’ve been mindful that ELEMENTAL is not a sweeping retrospective but the first public showing of a selection of my work. As such, I’ve focussed on two styles:
On the brick wall hangs a single series of large format colour landscapes entitled “Drive-By Shooting, Saskatchewan.”
The B&W narrative non-fiction are arranged opposite, combining a series (“Ferry Hair”) with individually framed, thematically-connected yet otherwise unrelated pieces.
I have to start somewhere. This is where I’ve chosen to begin. I’m delighted to have you along for the journey.