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Friday, August 28, 2015

The Dusk Series, Oregon

These images were taken in an Old Growth Forest on the slopes of Oregon’s Coastal Range, near a town called--evocatively if unfortunately this summer--Burnt Woods. Marguerite and I were on a collaborative retreat sponsored by Oregon State’s Spring Creek Project for Ideas, Nature, and the Written Word; we spent two weeks writing, taking pictures, eating marion berries, and drinking Pinot Gris at the Cabin at Shotpouch Creek, which hunkers into a clearing in the forest.

The dusk pictures illustrate the goal of the project’s founder, Franz Dolp, who wanted to bring writers and artists to the forest to help “reimagine the relationship of human beings to the natural world.” The images capture the movement, or adjustment, of mind and imagination when confronted with something beyond itself, bigger than itself. They’re not just representations of what was seen, but of the meeting between seen and imagined--the place where eye meets mind. Or where the human eye meets the nonhuman “other”--in this case, a bloody big forest, at dusk.

For the ancient Celts, dusk was the beginning of the day, a time of possibility and maybe danger. Dusk offered the 24-hour cycle its thinnest space: a moment when different worlds overlapped and became porous.  The Celts understood these worlds to be literal--the known space of human interaction and the less known world of spirits, and the dead. I read dusk metaphorically. In the words of Ciara Healy, who curated an exhibition called “Thin Space” in Wales earlier this year, thin spaces like dusk might be moments when “we are capable of inhabiting more than one world-view at the same time.” And that was Franz’s goal in a nutshell. Enjoy the images. As usual, they're straight digital shots, unmanipulated in any way--I just moved the camera.

Friday, June 12, 2015

The Dusk Series,

Continuing the Dusk Series that I began in Fall 2014 at the MacDowell Colony, in Peterborough, New Hampshire, and continued throughout the winter in Northampton, Massachusetts, these images were taken at dusk in West Wales, in the UK, in May and June, 2015. 

It's hard to wait for dusk in Wales around the Summer Solstice--the sun only sets around 10:30 pm. So I may have rushed some of these. To make up for it, I took photos in places like Ty Canol Wood, in Pembrokeshire--one of the few patches of primeval forest left in Britain--where tree shadows help dusk fall sooner. To my mind, the dusk images capture the neon-green glow and feel of Ty Canol better than the tradition photo below.

I discovered from a friend, Judy White, that in Celtic cosmology, the new day began at dusk. I like that. Consider this series a new departure...

Thanks for looking.

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