Small moments surprise on the South Platte, like this bird resting on a rock. The bird's poise in the middle of the river seems a simple architecture of natural balance in contrast to the big city behind.
The South Platte River snakes through metro Denver. Bike paths flow along side it and in the downtown area there are access points for play, like these children are. One imagines that the river goes by often unnoticed, as it streams along I-25 competing with traffic, then pass as it does through the industrial parts of the city. All the while it brings a greenish, faintly brackish water from far up the mountains into the city; really it brings something of the mountains and wild Colorado through Denver: it's refreshing, rushing at times, a recollection of the potency of nature as it tours the urban areas and moves northward out of town.
The civic landscape is organized, planned; there's housing, transportation, events; there's a kind of security in it all, maybe just from all the proximity a city brings. But the landscape is also a kind of organized chaos if you choose to view it that way, where shapes and forms, color and light constantly reshape and recast the environment into something abstract with its own drama, coincidence, humor, intimacy, loneliness and compression, too. This photograph for me plays with those themes and I especially like the inevitable reference to the great coliseums of history and the way the most massive structures here in black press upon this new coliseum.
Traveling across country a year and a half ago, a stop in Columbus, OH, brought a surprise encounter with the Wonder Bread sign. It was a little startling to see, recalling childhood advertisements and the way an iconic early "brand" played out across my visual memory. Colored dots, kitchen scenes, dreams of easy snacking, and the haunting sense of little nutrition all came back to mind.
The brick homes that speak of a different century and interfering trees and piled snow gave the entire scene a graveyard quality. I discovered on Google that the old Wonder Bread factory is now industrial lofts designed for metropolitan living. Altogether I truly felt like I was looking at the past.
After years of photographing the space of the San Luis Valley, the hay bale stacks, and other objects too, on the valley's many farms, started to re-appear. They were always there, but I saw them freshly as forms, and to a degree, icons of this rural landscape. They have the beauty of monuments; they decay; they recall solitude; there's a humor to them.
On a visit to a city, it’s hard not to bring with me the saturation of natural spaces that comes with living in a place like Crestone, Colorado. I find I look at a city differently and wonder, how does the natural world play out in city spaces, where is it present in city life? This is the urban edge, where constructed meets (and of course is always surrounded by), the rest of the world.. the natural world. At the same time the visual complexity of the constructed world becomes especially powerful and amazing and I feel you can look at it as an abstraction of forms, colors, and shapes that have their own life. In fact they impact your eye and mind and interrupt your ordinary stream of thoughts, if only momentarily, in a similarly powerful and often humorous way as does the natural world. So this series, Urban Edge, is underway as a means to explore these topics.
San Luis Valley Series No.2
After photographing the San Luis Valley’s dramatic play of color and light in a space that seems to scroll endlessly across one’s view, I started to notice what else the Valley contained. There are wonderful “sculptures” in the forms of hay bale collections, road-base sand piles, and the arrangement of houses, farm machinery, and roads shooting off into the distance. These elements have a stoic drama that I find amusing, poignant, and magnificent. I’m at work on this second San Luis Valley series presently.
If you'd like to hear when I post these projects in full, let me know via email.