Oriens i, Elemental
Reorchestrating Light, 1999
Oriens represents a new line of inquiry for me. Take the most compelling passages of changing light throughout an extended duration of time and weave them into a single composition. I’d been looking for the right situation to use this technique for quite some time. When I returned from Death Valley a friend said, “Zabriskie Point? Again? Well, I’ll bet you could photograph Zabriskie Point in a way that hasn’t been done before.” It was only then that I realized I had missed the shot(s) the first time. As I began the second journey, I realized there was a flaw in my plan. The “best” light in every area of the picture might not be as dramatic as I had thought. Every area of the image would demand equal attention. I nearly gave up hope, but I persisted. As usual something else worked out. While my intention was clear, the subject and the process informed me. I had to respond to the place and the images generated, not just what was in my head, to find the solution. As I looked at my transparencies it presented itself. The new solution even highlighted my feelings about the place more strongly than my original idea. I had been impressed by the way the light first struck the dagger-like peak after creeping across the valley floor. Its first appearance at each separate point throughout the landscape was a dramatic revelation, a crescendo in a magnificent performance. Rather than finding its epitome in a single moment, I found it in many. The result, different from my conception, but consistent with my intention, achieves a dramatic lighting effect never before seen at one time. Yet, a similar sequence of experience has been witnessed countless times.