Organic Form, cont'

      . . .  With open eyes, receptive mind, and camera in hand, I behold the pure visual presentation of, say, the bark-flesh of a tree. Negating the word “tree” or “bark” from consciousness and attempting an unbiased, phenomenological apprehension of the material, I behold the (apparently) chance relationships of line, shape, form and texture - the visual delights of pure abstraction. The human mind being what it is — an instinctual organizer of the chaotic infinitude of the visual world — abstraction quickly transforms into figuration, and there appear clowns, monsters, wandering sages, birds aloft in cubist skies, comic or macabre human faces, body parts, hybrid animals, dream tableaus, apocalyptic visions, primordial and extraterrestrial landscapes. There’s a pleasing paradox in these images being simultaneously literal and suggestive: unaltered close-up views of natural terrain as well as inducements to fantasy.

In a certain sense, the images in this book are of “found objects” (objet trouve), appearing “as is” to the inquisitive, acquisitive eye. But these “objects” are not so easily “found.” The eyes must wander distances, patiently and over time, wide open and eager for a vision. Once the vision is found it must be meditated upon, examined for deeper visual structures and meanings. Finally it must be isolated visually and composed within the camera’s proscribed frame of view and committed to film. Later, it is re-viewed and reshaped in the darkroom, using the technology and alchemy of the darkroom to bring the image into high relief (via adjustments in framing, contrast, focus, “burning and dodging,” etc.). In the end, these images are not mere visual records of external objects — photographic documents — but independent visual realities, no longer “about” anything external to the images themselves, self-contained works of art and imagination. 

[From Pictures from the Earth: Things Seen on the Surface of a Strange Planet, Heliograph Editions, 2011]