52 Photographers

Diane Meyer

Diane Meyer has some really great photographs mixed with embroidery.

Former Guard Tower Off Puschkinallee, Hand Sewn Archival Ink Jet Print, 2013

By having the embroidery take the form of digital pixels, I am making a connection between forgetting and digital file corruption. I am interested in the porous nature of memory as well the means by which photography transforms history into nostalgic objects that obscure objective understandings of the past.

Erna-Berger Strasse, Hand Sewn Archival Ink Jet Print, 2013

Former Wall Area Between Rudow And Altglienicke, Hand Sewn Archival Ink Jet Print, 2013

View more of her work on her website.

Carleton Watkins

Carleton Watkins (American, 1829 - 1916)
[Piwayac - Vernal Fall - 300 ft. Yo Semite], 1861, Albumen silver print
40.2 × 52.1 cm (15 13/16 × 20 1/2 in.)
The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles

Carleton Watkins (American, 1829 - 1916)
El Capitan, 3600 ft., Yo Semite, negative 1861; print about 1866, Albumen silver print
39.1 × 51.3 cm (15 3/8 × 20 3/16 in.)
The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles

Carleton Watkins (American, 1829 - 1916)
View from Camp Grove down the Valley - Yo Semite, 1861, Albumen silver print
39.1 × 52.5 cm (15 3/8 × 20 11/16 in.)
The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles

[Stream with trees and mountains in background, Yosemite Valley, Calif.]

Carleton Watkins (American, 1829 - 1916)
[The Devil's Slide, Utah], 1873 - 1874, Albumen silver print
52.1 × 39.1 cm (20 1/2 × 15 3/8 in.)
The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles

https://www.carletonwatkins.org/

Seung Hoon Park

I really love the work of Korean photographer Seung Hoon Park (or Park Seung Hoon).

 Montmartre 1 (Textus #252)

Montmartre 1 (Textus #252)

Park works with an 8x10 camera, and 8mm and 16mm film strips. He makes two exposures, then weaves the strips of film together. I love the discontinuous and misaligned nature of his pieces.

 Textus #053-1

Textus #053-1

You can check out more of his work and read more about his process by following one of the links below:

https://susanspiritusgallery.com/artist/seung-hoon-park/

https://www.artsy.net/artist/park-seung-hoon

https://theartling.com/en/artists/seung-hoon-park/

http://www.lifestyleasia.com/413789/moment-photographer-seung-hoon-park/

Jeff Rich

Jeff Rich has been photographing the Mississippi River Watershed for several years now.

Rail Bridge, Smith Mill Creek, Asheville, North Carolina, 2006

Watermain for the City of Asheville, The Swannanoa River, Black Mountain, North Carolina, 2007

So many of his photographs give me a guilty pleasure: they're beautiful photographs, but what's depicted in the photographs of what has happened and/or is happening to the landscape is frustrating, infuriating or even horrifying.

The sorts of scenes like the one below are a great example of what I mean.

Campground, The French Broad River, Asheville, North Carolina, 2006

Brown family farm, North Fork of the Swannanoa River, Black Mountain, North Carolina, 2007

Hominy Creek, Asheville, North Carolina, 2006

Coal Fly Ash Spill, Harriman, Tennessee, 2009

Raccoon Mountain Pumped Storage Plant Outflow, Tennessee River, Chattanooga, Tennessee, 2010

Bonnet Carré Spillway, Mississippi River, St Charles Parish, Louisiana, 2012

Check more of Jeff's work on his website.

Cara Barer

Back in college, I took a book arts class, where we learned to make our own books, and learned several ways of stitching signatures together. One of the assignments was to alter a found book in a way that it changed the narrative of the story, or eliminated it altogether. Ever since, I've loved handcrafted books, and altered books as pieces of art. So when I saw a piece of Cara Barer's through Klompching Gallery, I was stunned. 

Cara mentions that a "chance encounter with a Houston Yellow Pages" served as the inspiration for her work. After that, she began searching out other books and how to recreate what she'd seen from that phone book. 

Visit Cara's website to view more of her work.

Eadweard Muybridge

After last month's post on Timothy O'Sullivan, I thought it might be fun to make that a pattern, and talk about some of my influences each month.

Eadweard Muybridge didn't immediately become one of my influences. I think in my History of Photography class we mainly discussed his motion studies and experimentation. But I could be wrong; I was in Seattle for half of that semester while I was prepared to donate bone marrow to my brother who was undergoing treatment for Leukemia. It wasn't until about three years after that class that I really began paying attention to his landscape work he did in Yosemite.

Today, Muybridge is most known for his motion studies, which began with him being hired to settle a bet between two men, one of whom was Leland Stanford. The bet was whether a horse, when galloping had all four hooves off the ground, or if an animal that size was always in contact with the ground. Muybridge was hired, and devised a system of 12 cameras set at intervals along a race track, which was all in white. A trip wire was attached to each camera so that when the horse passed in front of it, the shutter was tripped and the exposure was made. This was in the days of wet plate collodion, when exposures were seconds long, so it really is remarkable for Muybridge to have figured out how to reduce the exposure time enough to stop motion the way he did. This led him to perform many more studies of animals and humans in motion. These studies ultimately led to the invention of the motion picture.

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Though most known for the motion studies, Muybridge started out his professional photographic career as a landscape and architectural photographer. He photographed San Francisco, and surrounding areas including Yosemite. Some of the scenes he photographed in Yosemite were made from the same point as photographs made by his contemporary and competitor, Carleton Watkins.

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For an excellent biography on Muybridge, read Rebecca Solnit's book River of Shadows: Eadweard Muybridge and the Technological Wild West

Or if you don't want to buy a book, you can read this excellent bio over at Imaging-Resource.

Or you can just check out the Wikipedia article on Muybridge. 

Melinda Hurst Frye

Melinda Hurst Frye is a Seattle-based artist, who uses a scanner in her work to create fictional scenes of plants and their root systems, and the creepy crawly bugs that live under our feet.

For her Underneath body of work, she started out in her front yard, where she would dig a hole big enough to fit her scanner, let the dirt settle for a few days, and then return and place the scanner in the hole, add any insects that she didn't want to add to the scene in post production and scan an image. She makes 5-30 scans of the scene, with lights aimed strategically, and sticks propping the scanner up to keep it still. Afterwards, she scans other insects, or visits Burke Museum of National History and Culture, and photographs taxidermy specimens of moles, or groundhogs in their labs.

This work evolved from an exploration of what was above the earth by scanning high resolution "portraits" of insects, and grubs, caterpillars, and larvae, but her interest in what is hidden led her to start digging into the ground and scanning the critters found below the surface. This play then brought her to her current process of placing the scanner in the holes she digs.

I love the playful and experimental nature and quality of Melinda's work!

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I asked Melinda about her influences, and she responded with this:

My experience as a mother has had a big impact on my work. I mine my personal life for subject matter, and kids are pretty consuming. Their initial wonder and exploration of nature, watching insects and digging in the soil, have been a big influence on my work. I want each image to present or inspire curiosity in the viewer, the kind that echoes what we felt as kids when spotting a bug in a flower or under the leaves. Additionally, the general aesthetic (lighting, color palette, and tableaux-like compositions) of Dutch master still life paintings helps me make certain decisions when building an image. When I get stuck, I go to them.

I adore Louis Bourgeois and her spider series—specifically Maman* in Ottawa. First off, it is 30 feet high and when you stand under it you feel like prey, it is an experience rather than something you walk by. I connect with her nod to motherhood in the piece: motherhood that is less saccharine or huggy, and more raw and sharp. Still loving, however, packaged in a leggy spider that is not interested in our acceptance, but the survival of her babies.

Lori Nix and Julie Blackmon are big faves with their narrative photographs and unique approaches. I can stare at those images for days. Both Emmet Gowin and Harry Callahan made imagery of their family that are so tender and kind. Recently I saw an image by Gowin of his wife Edith with silhouettes of moths** all over the image and I just about
died. All of my worlds came together in that piece.

Head on over to Melinda's website to view more of her work, and then go follow her on Instagram!

*Maman Wikipedia entry

**Emmet Gowin's photograph at Pace/MacGill

Timothy O'Sullivan

This week, I thought I'd dig back into photography's past and look at one of my all time favorite photographers. Ansel Adams was my first influence as a photographer, but he was soon supplanted by Timothy O'Sullivan, Matthew Brady, Edward Muybridge, Carleton Watkins, and others (now that I've chosen to do a post on O'Sullivan, I'll likely do posts on the other afore mentioned photographers). I still remember thumbing through my History of Photography text book back in college at the beginning of the semester, and seeing the photograph below and thinking something along the lines of “Ah, an Ansel Adams photograph” and then looking at the caption and learning that it was actually made by O’Sullivan.

 Canyon de Chelly

Canyon de Chelly

After that, I dug a little deeper into O’Sullivan’s work. I don’t really remember my initial impressions, or how soon afterwards he became one of my favorite photographers. And I’m not really sure there is a photograph of his that I would call my favorite. I think what impressed me first about O’Sullivan, and the other 19th Century landscape photographers was the incredible effort that was put into making their photographs. I loved imagining myself alongside them, a portable darkroom pulled behind a horse with hundreds of pounds of glass plates, hoping they don’t break along the journey, rushing to make an exposure before the collodion dried.

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O'Sullivan started his photographic career as a Civil War photographer, apprenticed under Matthew Brady, then after the war worked as the photographer for several Survey Expeditions in the West. 

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I’ve always found the choices O’Sullivan made to be intriguing. He never made the obvious choice when making his compositions, even when working during the Civil War. He had a sensitivity to the landscape that I still envy.

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You can read more about O'Sullivan and view more of his work at the Smithsonian American Art Museum's website.

Klea McKenna

I don’t remember exactly when or how I discovered the work of Klea McKenna, but I’ve been following her Instagram feed for a while now. She makes photograms of rubbings of photographic paper rubbed on cross sections of trees, and cracks in rock and cement. Think of the rubbings of tree bark and rocks you did as a kid with crayon, but done in the dark with light sensitive paper instead and then exposed to light. The resulting prints are really quite intriguing and beautiful, and the process involved is pretty impressive.

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Other work involves her making photograms of raindrops that fell on her photo paper, or spider webs in a forest, or grass collected from the landscape.

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Visit her website where you can see more of her work! Also check her out on Instagram!

Linda Foard Roberts

Linda Foard Roberts has some really breathtaking work. There is so much emotion and depth in her photographs. It's been a while since I've been impacted so deeply and emotionally by someone's photographs. At least in a way that is deeper than just seeing a nice photograph and recognizing/acknowledging the skill or craftsmanship of the photographer, and their ability to compose a photograph. These images stir up memories! They bring you right in to Linda's world, and make you feel as if you're a part of it as well. Many of them have such a dreamy quality to them.

 Wisdom

Wisdom

 My Mother's Grace

My Mother's Grace

 Last Day of Winter

Last Day of Winter

 Limbs, over 100 years old

Limbs, over 100 years old

 Spared Tree

Spared Tree

 The Road Home

The Road Home

 Fallen

Fallen

 Aging Grace

Aging Grace

 Tree, which held our old swing

Tree, which held our old swing

 A Measure of Time, both thirteen years old

A Measure of Time, both thirteen years old

 Nicole at Fifteen

Nicole at Fifteen

I asked Linda about her influences as a photographer, and she responded with this:

My early influences were many and include Paul Strand, W. Eugene Smith, Edward Steichen, Alfred Stieglitz, Dorothea Lange, Imogen Cunningham and later Diane Arbus.  I have always been interested in metaphor and how the camera can convey emotion. 
I also have tremendous respect for the authentic work and voices of Emmet Gowin, Sally Mann and Josef Sudek who gave us intimate views of their lives, forever changing the world of photography for me. My work has always been an extension of myself but their work allowed me to unselfconsciously find inspiration from home, looking for answers to the larger philosophical themes of life. There was a time when I believed you had to travel the world to be inspired. While working on these series, I wanted to document, not what is new to me, but what is a part of me. Over the years, I have discovered that it has as much to do with what you are feeling as it does with what you are seeing.

Clear your schedule for a while and go visit her website. She has so much more truly wonderful work and it is worth spending some time with all of it! She also has a book, Passage, that can be purchased at Photo Eye.

Kevin Hoth

Kevin Hoth has some really interesting work. Some of it really plays with your eyes and brain.

Kevin was kind enough to answer some questions I had about his work, specifically his Everywhere All at Once body of work.

Andy Duncan: Would you tell me a little bit about the Everywhere All at Once project? 

Kevin Hoth: This is my (annotated) artist statement for the project:

The project is really a result of experimentation over several years and scenarios. The series is really about how we experience and represent space. Ansel Adams said–somewhat cheekily–the hardest part of photography is knowing where to stand. This is essentially an acknowledgement of the importance of the camera’s coordinates in space or the vantage point of the maker. I use a mirror within the landscape as a way to combine two vantage points - in front and behind me - in one frame. Representation of photographic seeing tends to be from one vantage point or coordinate in space – you extend a ray from your eye to the scene. I’ve often felt this is a representational limitation since what we may experience as seeing is a three-dimensional, multi-sensorial experience. By creating images that combine multiple scenes–albeit from the same vantage point–my aim is to create a two-dimensional image that evokes a more whole representation of seeing. Though the idea of landscape may carry with it certain metaphors, I use the landscape as a sort of blank canvas or background layer (to use the language of photoshop) devoid of social cues or commercial symbols. I use a circular mirror as a reference to the shape of the eyeball and to the fact that all images -- whether formed in the brain or projected on the capture plane -- are created optically as true circles.

AD: How did it come to be? What was the inspiration behind it?


KH: This series really came out of another body of work I made that I called The Surface of Things. I was photographing a lot of reflections - in shop windows, in car windows, etc. and I came to realize that I was actually photographing three "spaces" at once - the space in front of me like the interior of the shop, the surface of the glass itself, and the space behind me that was reflected in the window. I've always been drawn to reflections and the way you can see other spaces that aren't in front of you but this series went beyond that.

I was then up at our family cabin in northern Wisconsin and I bought some square mirrors and was playing with digging them into the sand at the shoreline. Those experiments were fun but didn't really solidify into a series that I liked. I don't recall how long after this it was but I noticed some round mirrors at Michael's (the craft supply store) and bought one. I took it on a trip to the Great Sand Dunes in southern Colorado and was digging it into the tops of the dunes. I spun the mirrors to bring the mountains inside the mirror while the sand was just a backdrop. I made several more images this way in 2011 and then kind of just dropped the series. Then about a year later a friend - and I can't recall who it was unfortunately - said "Hey I really liked those mirror images - are you making any more of those?" So I came back to them and when I saw that I could connect the horizon lines from the space in front of me and behind me in one shot then the series came into its own. I saw I could connect rocks, shrubs, tumbleweeds, clouds or whatever together from two spaces and congeal them into one, using only optics. People send me images all the time that are kind of similar but as far as I can tell I am the only one who is connecting the objects behind and in front of me and fusing them in one apparent landscape in a nondigital manner. 

AD: What is it like dealing with the logistics of carrying mirrors into the field? 

KH: I've taken them with me on a lot of trips. Home to Wisconsin, to the desert in southern California, on a lot of hikes in Colorado. A lot them have broken but actually never in the field, so to speak - only in my backpack. I used to carry them inside a book on Feng Shui (it just happened to be about the right size). I've finally made a wooden carrying case for them so I can take them out of the country and such where I might not be able to easily buy round mirrors. 

AD: How difficult is it to make the composition? 

KH: It can be pretty challenging, especially if it's windy. Then I have to snap off a lot of shots which annoys me since I have to edit through them all. I've gotten pretty good at getting myself out of the way and matching up the two spaces. Some landscapes actually don't work as easily for it. I went down to White Sands National Park in May, and for the life of me I could not get a decent shot using the dunes. I actually went into it predicting it might be challenging - I'm not sure why - so I wasn't that disappointed.

D: How large are the mirrors you're working with? 

KH: They are 10 inches in diameter. The store was out of the 10" ones the last time I went in so I had to buy some smaller ones. They don't seem to work as well but I made some decent images down near Marfa, Texas over Thanksgiving break.

AD: Do you consider the project finished or complete?

KH: There are a solid ten or twelve of them that feel like a nice body of work. I thought it was complete, but I think I will make more in the same color palette, but then shoot some other images in another style using the same principles. The working method of it will flow through some other work, I'm sure of that.

Another project that I quite like is his latest one, Ingestion Transformer. The images in this project are all edible, and are intended to be eaten, as a way to reassert our power over the photographic image that can have so much power or influence on us.

Thanks to Kevin for allowing me to use his images in this post, and for taking the time to answer my questions!

Visit Kevin's website to see more of his work, and check him out on Instagram!

Alma Haser

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I am so fascinated by Alma Haser's work! Her Within 15 Minutes body of work is really intriguing. This comes from her artist statement:

Alma photographed sets of identical twins and made them into identical jigsaw puzzles. She then swaps every other piece of their puzzles, completely mixing them half and half. Not always knowing where their eyes, mouths and lips would end up, the result is a pair of eerie, unrecognizable portraits. No longer seen as completely identical, they are unique.

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The "I Always Have to Repeat Myself" body of work is even more interesting! (At least to me it is!)

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Head over to Alma's website to see more of her work! You can also find her on Instagram!

Laura Hendricks

I first saw Laura Hendricks‘ work on The Jealous Curator Blog several months ago, and instantly connected with her work. Her collages have an otherworldly feel to them, and yet a familiar feel. They’re done in a way that makes one feel simultaneously that there’s something a little unnatural about the landscape but also in way that feels that everything just makes sense. I’ve been following her Instagram feed ever since I read that blog post, and it’s fun seeing some of the videos she posts of her working out which two photographs to collage together. 

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Head on over to Laura’s website to see more of her work and check her out on Instagram. You’ll be glad you did! 

Julie Anand & Damon Sauer

This post originally appeared on my Departures Blog on May 13, 2017.

A little while ago LensCulture announced their 2017 Exposure Awardwinners. Among the superb photographers represented were a pair who, for the last 12 years, have been working collaboratively. Ground Truth: Corona Landmarks by Julie Anand and Damon Sauer immediately resonated deeply in me, and the images and concepts behind this body of work have been bouncing around my mind ever since.

I admit to feeling a small amount of jealousy when I first saw the photographs. It was another of those "I wish I'd thought of that!" moments. But I'm glad  those moments occur, because they are, in the end, motivating. They make me think about my own work in new ways; how to look at the world in new ways.

I emailed the artists with several questions about the Ground Truth work, and I was pleased to receive a quick response from Julie. Here is our exchange:

Andy Duncan: Can you explain a little about the origins and inspiration for this project and how it came to be?

Julie Anand: Damon read an article conjecturing about strange marks in the Gobi desert hypothesized to be used for satellites and it linked to a single site in the Arizona desert. We made a field trip and eventually found more and eventually Damon mapped the entire system using Google Earth. Meanwhile we did research and found that in 2004 a pilot had discovered them from above and linked them to the Corona project. So we started exploring them photographically. Eventually we started using a 16ft boom. At first they were pretty straight documents and we went around photographing markers that way. Then we got a grant for a new camera and had to redo all our work, so we rethought it and turned them into vertical landscapes. We did that for a while. Finally, we added the layer of looking at what satellites are present now. It took a couple of years for us to develop this methodology. It wasn’t our first draft by any means.

AD: How long have you been working on the project, and how much longer do you think it'll take before you consider it to be finished?

JA: We’ve been working on it for about three years, and as I mentioned above, we went through several different versions of how to explore these markers. Our website isn’t up to date (we have a fresh batch of images in progress right now), and we’re still negotiating what it will mean to be finished.

AD: How do the paths of the satellites influence the composition of the photograph? And visa versa? Or do they?

JA: The satellite paths are a chance operation with respect to the photographs. We have no idea what they will look like when we make our images.

AD: Do you make the photograph and then look up and superimpose the satellite paths, or look at the paths first in your tracking software and then make a photograph with the satellites' paths in mind for the composition?

JA: The photograph comes first and that gives us the data for plugging into the software to determine the satellite paths.

AD: How many photographs do you make at each marker?

JA: We usually walk around and decide what would make the most interesting vantage and make a couple of different versions. Each final image we make is stitched from about 5 images. It’s a fairly big set up with two tripods, sandbags, 16ft boom, tethered laptop etc…precisely measured…so we’re not very “casual” about moving around, but we know that getting to the sites takes a lot of resources and energy so we try to give ourselves options in the field.

AD: How many markers have you photographed so far? Are they all still extant? Looking at the map on the website, I see some blue marks and some green marks. Can you explain the significance of the two? Am I correct in assuming that the green marks indicate the marker at that location is missing for whatever reason?

JA: We have a fresh batch we’re working on right now. When we are through with those, we should be at around 40 completed images. The map is an important part of the project that represents significant research. We plan to show the map in the exhibitions with our images. The map has several layers of things going on. Green marks are ones in which there is no photographic record of any kind available for the site. Otherwise, light colored crosses reveal our images, or dark blue crosses have embedded color Google Earth historic images or black and white aerial images that Damon researched if it wasn’t on Google Earth at all. But just because we’ve researched a historic aerial or historic Google Earth image doesn’t mean the marker is there today. I created a spreadsheet of all the sites and about 100 markers have been removed.

AD: Are there any markers that you've decided to not photograph because of lack of visual interest? Or has there been an additional purpose of cataloging each marker?

JA: We haven’t edited out sites at this point because we’re never quite sure what they will look like once the satellite map is created. Since that’s a chance operation, sometimes even very plain ground views produce stunning line drawings. We’re still deciding about what we think “complete” should mean for this project. But intuitively we feel we’re not finished, so we keep working. We have other things we want to try as a parallel practice to the photographic typology.

AD: Are these markers still used by the Air Force and CIA? If there are some missing, I can't think that they are still used, otherwise they would be better maintained. Also, if some are missing, and this grid is no longer used for satellite calibration, how are satellites calibrated today? Is there a new grid of markers somewhere to serve this purpose? Or is that information possibly classified?

JA: The project was decommissioned in 1972 and the markers have been decaying in the desert ever since. The Corona project was declassified in the 1990’s. We have an appointment to talk with a satellite scientist to find out more about how these were used, to help us interpret patterns in our sky maps we are creating, and to learn more about contemporary calibration systems.

AD: How did the government acquire the land, with the Corona Project being a secret joint program? Was the land bought from the then owners of that land?

JA: The Army Map Service leased the land in 100 foot parcels from land owners...There is a lot of speculative stuff online and we need an actual historian to do some work on this field. We are looking for a historian collaborator.

I'd like to thank Julie here on the blog for taking the time to answer my questions. After reading her answers, I was even more excited about her and Damon's project! I can't wait to see how it progresses! Head on over to their web site at 2cirlcles.org to see the whole collections of photographs. Read their statement. Check out the map, and don't miss the Process video! I love seeing the "behind the scenes" of how artists make their work, and this video really shows how much work goes into making just a single photograph of these landmarks.

I found a Youtube video of a presentation Julie gave in 2015 at WSU. It's worth watching if you've got a little extra time to spare. You can also check out an article about the Julie and Damon's work on Wired Magazine: These Concrete Relics in Arizona Helped Satellites Spy on the Soviets—Wired Magazine

 Calibration Mark X47 with Satellites

Calibration Mark X47 with Satellites

 Calibration Mark AC47 with Satellites

Calibration Mark AC47 with Satellites

 Calibration Mark AE48 with Satellites

Calibration Mark AE48 with Satellites

 Calibration Mark AC48 with Satellites

Calibration Mark AC48 with Satellites

David Shannon-Lier

This post originally appeared on my Departures Blog on May 27, 2017, and the interview in a subsequent post on June 2, 2017.

Clear back in October, Lenscratch had an article in their Art + Science series on the body of work by David Shannon-Lier titled Of Heaven and Earth. The first image in the article, Chalk Moonrise, Muley Point, Utah, pulled me in, since I love long exposures of the moon and sun, but also, there was more to the image than just the long white arc of the moon as it traveled across the sky: on the rocks in the foreground is a light line that matches the radius of the moon's path. 

 Chalk Moonrise, Muley Point, Utah

Chalk Moonrise, Muley Point, Utah

Not only are these absolutely gorgeous photographs, but the concept behind them is so fun and interesting! 

In a LensCulture article, Lier says this about his work:

To produce each photograph, I leave open the shutter for a very long exposure. The result is an image of the moon or sun playing off of an altered landscape. In this way, the heavenly meets with the human, the immense with the intimate and one of the most constant forces in our world—the movement of the solar bodies—interacts with a line of rocks or grass: a mark that is small and completely fleeting in meaning and form.
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 Badlands Moonset, Badlands National Park, South Dakota

Badlands Moonset, Badlands National Park, South Dakota

I emailed him and asked some questions about the body of work, and he was kind enough to answer.

Andy Duncan: How long have you been working on this project, and do you think there will ever be an "end" to it, or point at which it will be considered finished?

David Shannon-Lier: I have been working on this project for a little over 5 years now, though the first year and a half to two years of that was spent figuring out how to make the pictures and refining my methodology. I hope to put a book of this work together and I am actually working on including long exposures of the movement of the sun. This is a little trickier as days tend to be a bit windier than nights. I am now building a folding wind break to bring with me on my trips after this last outing.

 AD: What was your inspiration for this work?

DS-L: The inspiration for the work came when I was driving from Massachusetts to Arizona for graduate school. I began to think about our old home and how as we drove west it was slowly setting below the horizon. It occurred to me that I rarely thing about the larger world in three dimensions. I wanted to make work that would point to that gap in our thinking. Now I see that gap as a metaphor for the gap in our conception of our own lives: we know we are small, ephemeral beings, but we can't shake the notion that the things we do every day carry some sort of weight.

 AD: How did it begin, and how has it evolved?

DS-L: The work began as mostly technical problems and solutions. How to plot the motion of heavenly bodies? How to do it accurately enough to where the pictures didn't fall apart? How to nail down the exposure, especially considering small apertures and reciprocity failure? These problems took the better part of a year an a half, most of the experiments taking place in my back yard. As I solved those problems, I began to travel in concentric circles around our home in Arizona, at which point I had to solve other problems to do with travel and how to do this out of a car and away from the support of a home base. Now all that is behind me, which makes the work easier, but in some ways less exciting in the execution. The concepts have developed a bit and I now see the work as about that particularly vexing mix we have as a species of being mortal, conscious and aware that we are both.

 AD: Do you have any thoughts or ideas of what comes next for your photography?

DS-L: I am always taking pictures of things that fascinate me. I am interested in the landscape and the sublime, particularly that aspect of the sublime that is closest to fear or dread. It seems to me in these moments we can begin to get at that human knot I mentioned above.

 AD: Who is a favorite photographer of yours?

DS-L: There are a lot. I find the best persona to embody as a visual artist is a compulsive thief. It does no good to steal from one artist or movement, or even one medium. But if you can constantly be taking in new information, and stealing a bit from here, a bit from there, from other artists as well as science, philosophy, theology, culture the work will end up being rather more interesting. This is all to say that sometimes (as is the case with compulsive thieves) I am unaware that I am borrowing from some area until long after and I could spend entirely too long listing all of them. All that being said I will mention Bill Burke and Mark Klett, who I worked closely with and who have influenced me by osmosis. Also, someone who is working now and really gets at the ideas of the landscape and the sublime is Michael Lundgren.

 AD: Because I'm a bit of a tech junkie, what programs or software do you use to project or predict the positioning of the sun and the moon?

DS-L: The solution to that technical problem was to use very accurate data and a very accurate tool for measuring the data. I started getting my data from the U.S. Naval Observatory, but I now use an app called stellarium. It has the same data, but is a little easier to access on the road. From that I can get the precise location for any heavenly body at present or in the future. I use a surveyor's tool called a transit, or a theodolite to plot the points that I get from the data, and then place my camera in the spot where the transit made its measurements. It's a bit more complicated than that and a lot more tedious, but that's the gist of it.

Man, I loved the part about stealing from everywhere!  I've heard the quote that's often attributed to Pablo Picasso: "good artists borrow, great artists steal." But for all the times I've heard it, I never really thought to apply the stealing to all facets of life, not just to steal from other artists.

Thanks for your time David! I can't wait to see more of your work!

To see more of Lier's work, which I highly recommend, you can visit his website. Also, he's been featured on LensCultureFraction Magazine, and Hoctok.

52 Photographers Is Back!

I began the 52 Photographers Blog circa 2007-2008 as a way to expand my photographic/artistic vocabulary and get to know many more photographers than I already knew and share the work of artists that I enjoyed looking at and who were currently influencing my own work.

I never actually made 52 posts, as I got super busy with other things. Posts became spaced out, and clustered, and then it finally died off, and I let the domain expire.

Then in 2016, I thought of resurrecting the idea, but instead, decided to just write blog posts on my Departures Blog with no set schedule or plan. For 2018, I debated with myself whether or not I would fully resurrect 52 Photographers or not, and I ultimately decided to take the plunge, and here we are!

While 52 Photographers will be heavily photography-oriented, I've come across artists working in other media that I am going to want to share with you! I can't wait to share the work of so many really great photographers!

Jim Stone

Jim Stone is the juror for PhotoSpiva’s 2009 33rd Annual National Photographic Competition (submission deadline is Friday, are you ready?). I decided to check his website out to find a little bit more about him, and see his own work and like it quite a bit. Here are a couple of my favorites:

 Desert Home, Ferguson Lake, Arizona

Desert Home, Ferguson Lake, Arizona

 Fisher's Landing, Martinez Lake, Arizona

Fisher's Landing, Martinez Lake, Arizona