Take us behind the scenes for these abstract images of trees. Were they all taken in the same place?
First, I will talk about the colour, and why these images are like this. I am a big fan of Impressionism. It did wonders for artists like Monet to convey movement and dynamism in nature. I love doing that! Sometimes, if I don’t capture that movement, I will create it. If the wind is blowing or the water is rippling then I’m inevitably capturing movement. This other technique is to actually create movement and emulate Impressionism by creating something different.
How do you create that sense of movement?
I pan the camera from top to bottom at its lowest shutter speed. Most of the time I handhold the camera one second and, during exposure, pan the camera down. I roughly know how much movement I want to give because sometimes I want to keep some detail. If you look at the redwoods, you can still see a bit of the bark of the tree. The amount of movement, or how fast I move the camera, is a decision I make based on my creative sense. I don’t have a particular formula. But I usually do ten or twenty swipes and choose the one I really like. It’s very unpredictable. The most important thing is that the camera needs to be dead straight coming down. I have the tripod option but if I put a camera on a tripod I feel like I’m not handling the creation. I want to have this instrument in my hand, like an artist’s paintbrush or pencil, and create with it. I want that image to be hand-made.
What do you want the viewer to feel when they look at these photos?
I want them to discover the beauty in nature that is not obvious. I run away from obvious pictures; postcard pictures. Anybody can shoot that nowadays with an IPhone. Creating is very different and that’s what I do. I play a lot with movement and with the panoramas, to capture that eternity of the moment in a panel. It’s really difficult because you’re counting on some event to happen while you’re shooting these massive pictures. Often, I use light to create an image, rather than just snapping a picture, which is easy to do. If you look at the white and green image of the aspens, you can walk into that forest in your imagination – and get lost in there.
Location: Santa Fe National Forest, New Mexico
Photograph Date: 2008
Medium: Chromogenic Print