manipulated # 1 / early ku ~ finding it

manipulated polaroid / c. 1990~ click to embiggen 

A recent photo book review, QT Luong's Magnificent Project, is responsible for a host of thoughts banging around in my head. Thoughts I haven't had for a long time and thoughts - more like nagging gripes - I thought I had gotten over ...

... Almost 2 decades ago, when I moved to the Adirondack PARK - technically not a park but rather a forest preserve - it was in my head that I would now have the time to be able to create grand landscape masterpieces, Photography Division wise, of the the park's natural environment. However, in very short order, a number of things emerged which worked in opposition to that idea.

First amongst those things was the realization that every mountain, mountain top view, lake, pond, river and stream had been pictured in the grand landscape style many times over. Pictured in a manner of making pictures just like what one has been told is a good picture - "perfect" light, "perfect" picturesque scene, "perfect" composition according to the so-called rules of compostion and, most often, color saturation dialed up to a 12 (on a scale of 10). Pictures which, iMo, most men, women and children would respond to - like Pavlov's salivating dogs - the romantized rendition of the natural world.

Springing forth from that realiztion (the second thing) was a reinforcement of the fact that, in my commercial / advertising picture making career, my success was built upon the a foundation of making pictures that were not like those of other picture makers. Pictures which had my personal stamp all over them. Pictures which separated me from the crowd. Therefore, why in the name of all that's holy (picture making wise) would I want to make pictures which blended into a sea of smaltzy, romantized and, iMo, cliched sameness?

Try as I might, I just could not come up with any reason to do so.

The third and most important thing which emerged, not from the aforementioned things, but rather, from getting out and making non-grand landscape pictures, was the realization that my eye and sensibilities are naturally - one might even say, preternaturally - drawn to referents which are most often seen but overlooked, visually complex and which are, in a very real sense, the genius / beauty to be found and seen in the "details" of the Adirondack PARK.

early discoveries / c. 2002 ~ in the Adirondack PARK (click to embiggen)

This discovery / realization had a profound impact on nearly every picture I have made thereafter that picture making epiphany. Whether a picture is of the natural world or the man-made world, vitually all of my pictures are of what, iMo and to my way of seeing, the genius and beauty to be found and seen in the mundane / ubiquitous "details" of the world all around me.