Saturday, October 17, 2009

Cloudy Afternoon at Peakéd Mountain Farm, No. 2

AARON SISKIND: "We look at the world and see what we have learned to believe is there. We have been conditioned to expect.... But as photographers we must learn to relax our beliefs. Move on objects with your eye straight on, to the left, around on the right. Watch them grow large as you approach, group and regroup as you shift your position. Relationships gradually emerge and sometimes assert themselves with finality. And that's your picture."

PHOTOGRAPHER'S JOURNAL: Continuing my shoot it became clear that the cloudscape I'd been photographing was made of two cloud layers. The bottom layer, the evaporating remains of the morning cloud blanket, seemed to hover barely higher than the hills until it became thin enough to reveal the great white monster in the background.

A big sky shot taken shortly after yesterday's image shows both cloud layers clearly. It's one of those "not quite," images. The diagonal of the cloudscape is not quite defined enough to make the image move. The dominant effect is linear and static. This image is even more linear than the one rejected. There's nothing wrong with a linear image if it's integral to the meaning of the shot.

What might Church or Cole have done here? Of course a painting is a fantasy, and a photograph is reality. Is it possible to photograph this landscape long and not find their ghosts lingering in spite of all that has changed?