There is a kind of image I make that I pretty much keep to myself these days. It has no obvious bearing on my commercial work, and it has an infinitesimally narrow appeal that will not net many “Likes” on my Facebook page. Yet anytime I am in this kind of wintry, barren, brambly landscape, I make scores of images that look a lot like this.
And, I've been making this image for a long time. One of my favorites from the body of work dates from 1985. As Robin puts it, I have a huge part of my brain devoted to seeing this image out there. It is, apparently, truly an acquired taste.
As a committed formalist, I am agnostic regarding what I photograph. Or as my guru Frederick Sommer put it, “Subject matter is harmless, but it can be charming to the point of distraction from other elements.” Yet there are environments that I prefer to place myself in for the purpose of making photographs. If subject matter is irrelevant, then it doesn't matter where I take my photos. I might as well go where I like to be.
These stick places are one of those places. It's not the subject, it's the feeling state I find accessible when I'm there, with a camera in hand. The images are a consequence of the moment.
I've exhibited the work only a couple of times in the past two decades. I've failed to get any traction for the material at photo review events. It does not appear to be destined to have a life beyond my private concern. It also does not appear I will ever stop making them.
Here is the “Stick Pictures” portfolio, and a group from today's outing.