As a native Vermonter, I have a deep connection and appreciation to the rural landscape. My grandfather owned a grain mill/hardware store and sold International Harvester tractors. During the summers, he would throw a bag of grain or some tractor part in his car, loaded my sisters and I in the front seat to take us out on a delivery to some farm, driving along miles and miles of dusty back roads, singing Zip-pity Do Dah and Mares Eat Oats.
My ﬁrst photos, taken when I was just about 12, are of the mill, the railroad tracks and the little town of Danby, where my grandparents lived. The images are of structure and place, quiet without any people. Some were moody, taken in an April rain. Some were just a little out of focus because I didn’t yet understand how to use the little Minolta rangeﬁnder, which I still own today. Looking beyond the nostalgic snapshot of a time long past and I can clearly see these images as a reference to how my childhood inﬂuences my work today.
I use many different forms of photography, form darkroom to digital, alternative processes and vintage cameras, and also in corporate printmaking techniques for some projects. Two of my favorite bodies of work, Bittersweet Landscape and Tarpentry, have similar thread that weaves through the imagery. These projects, one which grew from the other, work with the forgotten, the mundane, and distressed aspects of the landscape, and invariably include an aspect of human involvement. The images carry a message of transition, either physically or metaphorically, while reﬂecting on fragility and possibility. The images are quiet and void of the very human beings that make their mark on the landscape. This absences instills a sense of curiosity for the scene presented to the viewer.
It’s clear that I am drawn to some of the harsher, under appreciated characteristics northern New England climate. I prefer the waining light of late fall, the dampness of a cold spring and the emptiness of a long winter compared to a short but sunny summers. These two projects primarily takes advantage of these seasons, not just for the quality of light, but also the physical characteristics and the emotional impressions that they imbue on the landscape. To quote Andrew Wyeth, “I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape. Something waits beneath it; the whole story doesn’t show.”