Terrain and Direction:
Deciphering the West
This theme is ideally suited for an 8x10 view camera, which offers extreme detail and the possibility of a precise plane of focus from the ground in front of the tripod to the horizon (via the scheimpflug principle).
The Old West of explorer, pioneer, cowboy, Indian, rancher, miner and the transcontinental railway is deeply ingrained in our cultural psyche. The New West is shaped by many factors, including commercial and industrial interests, the Federal government and the military, hunters, outdoor sports enthusiasts, dude ranchers, snowbirds, routine tourists, off-road gear-heads, and of course, the exoskeletons of new highways, development and creeping suburbia.
Azimuth deals with reading traces in the landscape where history and lore linger still, before being overwritten by modernity. Azimuth seeks to find what directions we’re moving in as we reevaluate and reshape the Western landscape. What are the implications of our development decisions? What kinds of custodians are we? What is the worth of land left alone? How do land-use decisions affect us socially? Is beauty in landscape, void of cliché, still possible?
Like a tracker I read places, patterns and markings in/on/of the landscape. Sometimes they’re big things, like open pit mines; sometimes they’re subtle, places where historical “incident and accident” remain as trace, marker or relic. In all images I value understatement and a pulled-back, panoramic vantage point, allowing viewers to discover their own answers to these questions.