Practical or Spiritual?

February 22, 2021  •  Leave a Comment

My plans for this website are evolving. Initially, my idea was to supplement the sales of photographs I make at galleries (see the Representation page) as only a few photos can be displayed in galleries, and relatively few people visit galleries. As I have gotten into it, however, I've found that what is really driving me to tolerate the fussiness of managing a website is the big picture of my work as a photographer. One aspect of this is that I have many photographs worthy of displaying that I have not used for anything.  Another aspect is that reviewing the photographs I have makes me want to fill in the missing subjects. This makes more sense if you know that I am more about the subject than the photograph of the subject. Despite the thrill of making fine art prints and the sense of accomplishment in calling myself an artist, I think of my photographs primarily as tools to promote awareness and care of the natural world, particularly Michigan's Upper Peninsula. So, in the big picture, I will be doing what I can to fill the gaps in my portfolio of the Upper Peninsula's natural history - its special places, interesting species, and ecological relationships.  This sounds like practical work, but on the About page I say that I take a spiritual approach to my photographic work. So which is it? My answer is both. By tapping into gut responses (be they pleasurable or disturbing) works of art can motivate practical action. I hope some of my photographs touch your spirit and move you to explore Nature and do your part for conservation.

Here’s a recent personal example. Winter is an especially challenging time of year to photograph Nature in the UP. Cold fingers are my usual nemesis.  But, the colder the better for some subjects, particularly running water. Old Man Winter's artistry with snow and ice motivates me to explore creeks and rivers more often in winter than in other seasons. The ever-changing sculptures get me to strap on my snowshoes, and the tracks of otter, mink, and the others I discover remind me that riparian zones are prime wildlife corridors that need to be valued and protected.

Ice Sculpture by Old Man WinterBig Creek Ice Sculpture No. 2Big Creek is a tributary of the Chocolay River, Marquette County in Michigan's Upper Peninsula Otter Slide in Deep SnowOtter Slide in Snow No. 1Otter slide indeep snow along Big Creek in Chocolay Twp., Marquette Co., Michigan






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