This is the second post I am writing about recovering from surgery and thinking about pictures. The first, 11 Days Out is here.
In 2012 and 2013 I extensively photographed the forty miles of sand dunes in the southern California dessert called the Imperial Sand Dunes, nearby Yuma, Arizona. I hiked them, drove over them in a jeep, photographed them from the perimeter road, shot them from the air several times and even rented an ATV one day to be able to get further in to these massive dunes that can be as high as 300 feet.
As is my practice, I made prints into portfolios from the two trips I made to photograph the dunes. They sit in my studio now printed on 22 x 17 inch Canson Baryta Photographique paper. Each portfolio combines aerials with ground based work.They look good and present the extended shoots well. But there is a major flaw in this work and one I am guilty of in other bodies of work where I make pictures over years and several trips (my Wheat work comes to mind). Working this way, printing in response to new work made lends no perspective or focus to the work, it is just a compiling of what I think are the best pictures made. Making separate portfolios from different years becomes an artificial construct and succeeds in only separating and diminishing the work. So, I've decided to change that.
I've been working to consolidate, edit tightly and make one new portfolio of finished work from both years. Note the added benefit of now being at least 3 years from it. MUCH better to have some distance. Here are a few that will be included
It's shame that I need this forced down time to concentrate on this work. But I know once I get back on my feet I'm going to be shot from a cannon, on to new projects and never looking back. Perhaps this is what advanced years in a field gives you: the knowledge of how bad you're going to be at something based upon having been there so many times before. At any rate, still being on crutches forces me to slow down and focus on the Dunes work and I am thankful for that, for it is good work.
A little on the technical side here. In earlier digital days, now 10 years ago or so, the cameras weren't good enough for what I wanted my pictures to do. The file size was too small to allow larger prints of high quality. I would step the file size up using Genuine Fractals but is was a poor substitute for the larger file sizes of today. Since about when I made the Dunes pictures the first year in 2012, all that has changed. I can go back to these confident in their inherent quality and can make large prints that hold well, keep sharp, have excellent dynamic range, superb color rendition and don't get noisy. This is the maturing of the medium and it is a very good thing.
BTW: these pictures are simply remarkable (you've heard such modesty from me before, no doubt), rich and subtle and bold and refined. Notice how the color is different in each one? That's because of different days, times of days and years that I made them in. At 1.5 inches across on your smart phone you are not doing them justice. It is the print here that really counts. Over the next few days I will start production, making them on 30 x 24 inch Epson Exhibition Fiber paper. When done they will reside in a custom case with a title page and artist statement. It will be a limited edition portfolio of approximately 20 prints.They will be available for viewing at 555 Gallery in Boston. Passionate about good prints? Me too. Come see these. I mean it. Knock your socks off.
Note ( as of mid February 2016): I've just finished printing these and they are viewable on my site at: Dunes 2012 & 2013.