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Prelude in Gray ii

Prelude in Gray ii

Atmosphere, 2001

This image accentuates what was there — atmosphere and light. But what you see here wasn’t entirely there. It is here, now. It’s no longer there.

It’s curious to me that we are surrounded by light but we can’t see it until it interacts with matter. We see it reflected off of objects, but we don’t see it on its way to them. Tiny particles in the path of light can reveal it. Atmosphere can reveal it.

The great majority of photographs are records of light reflecting off of objects; the interest in these kinds of recordings is in the ability of light to render form and volume. Some photographs are about space; they’re less about the objects in them than they are about the spaces that separate those objects. A few photographs are about light itself.

This image is about space and light. That’s almost certainly why the composition is so spare. There’s little else there to distract from the subject. There’s just enough variety in color and form to provide a variety of points to concentrate on to sustain an extended consideration of the primary subject, which is so simple.
Just as I’ve been influenced by Whistler’s paintings of night, I’ve been equally influenced by Turner’s paintings of light with their suffused atmospheres. I’ve also been influenced by Rothko’s utter simplicity. All of these artists exhibit a deep understanding of the power of color. While I responded to their work immediately and instinctively, it took some time for the full impact of these influences to be felt by me. (As time goes on I find it becomes more and more profound. Small things really can add up over time.)

What you can’t see is just as important as what you can. Every visible phenomenon obscures another level of reality. Behind the fog there is more space, filled with objects and light. Below the surface of the water there is more space, filled with objects and light. The surface of this image both reveals space and light and obscures it.