Welcome Page

Welcome to The Departing Landscape website
         Steven D. Foster
                         updated 1-28-2015

                 Visual Poem for the Departing Landscape  2007-12                    

~Click on images once, twice to enlarge~
Click on any blue hyperlinked words or titles  
to see the online projects
Latest Additions to the website  (Updated 1-28-2015) 
click here        The Photograph as ICON Part I     Window on the Invisible World  Jan 24, '15  
click here        The Photograph as ICON Part II   The Heart & Creative Prayer Jan 25, '15  
click here        The Photograph as ICON Part III  Symbol~Mirror-Mandala Jan 26, '15 
click here        The Photograph as ICON Part IV   The Unstruck Sound & The Created Image  Jan 28, '15 
click here        The Photograph as ICON Part    The Place of Encounter  Jan 28, '15   
click here         Acadia--Arcadia? (four parts)  September-December 2014
click here         The Angels: (seven parts)  August-November 2014   
click here         The Space Between Color and Black&White  August 4, 2014 
click here         The Creative Process  ~  (five parts)  May 14, 2014
click here        Still Life ~ (eleven parts) ~ Photographs inspired by Giorgio Morandi  2013 
click here        Studies III: Color Photographs  [The World as a Book]  2006 - 2013
click here       "An Imaginary Book"  (eleven + parts) Photographs inspired by Islamic sacred art  2011-13     

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Welcome to The Departing Landscape website which is dedicated to exploring and sharing with you my creative process in photography.  I have provided below a chronological listing of hyperlinked titles (in blue colored type) to my online photography projects, including projects dating back to the 1960s and my most recently completed projects.  Each online project contains images and texts, links to related projects, reference materials, etc.  In the above section "Latest Additions" I will announce and list projects most recently added to this website.    

My contact information, resume, biographical articles, interviews, gallery representation, etc. is available at the bottom of this page, and at this link: Steven D. Foster. 

A Personal History of Photography offers a chronological narrative, including a visual sampling of the projects and their hyperlinks. Over the 45 year history of my work presented here it will become apparent that I have not been the type of artist who has early on established a stylistic mode of working, or a particular conceptual thrust, and spent a lifetime embellishing the singular theme with gradual variations!  Rather, I have followed the impulses of my intuitions and personal interests and thus have explored a full range of ideas and techniques over the years.  Music has been a very important and recurring influence upon my work, and since my college days the idea of the equivalent or the symbolic photograph has been an ongoing, primary conceptual preoccupation (click here), as has the idea of the thing centered photograph.  More recently my yogic practice of meditation has become a more public aspect of my creative process, and I have begun to explore the idea of sacred art in relation to my creative process, and paying homage to some of my favorite visual artists ( such as Morandi and Paul Klee).

Music Inspired Projects
Beginning in 1999 and continuing through 2010 I produced three large projects in response to the music of American composer Morton Feldman (1926-1987):   

       The Departing Landscape Project  2007-12   
       The Triadic Memories Project  2003-07 
       Garage Series  1999-2000    

                                     The Departing Landscape  2007-12                                                  

                                  The Triadic Memories Project 2003-07                                      

                                Garage Series 1999-2000                                    

About the Title of this Website 
My website is named after my Feldman inspired project The Departing Landscape.  The phrase "departing landscape" is Feldman's metaphor for how sound leaves us in our hearing as it decays into silence.  The title also reflects my concern for the environment which I have written about further below.  (Note: my Feldman inspired projects are available for exhibition in combination with a talk by writer Clark Lunberry and concert pianist Louie Goldstein.  Visit this link for more information: Images ~Music ~Text.)

Other composers and musicians (classical, jazz, contemporary) have inspired or influenced my work as well, including Richard Wagner, Franz Liszt, Charles Ives, William Bolcom, Frederic Chopin, Steve Lacy and Thelonious Monk.  Please visit: Other Music Inspired Projects.

Sacred Art : "An Imaginary Book"  
In May, 2011 my wife Gloria and I traveled to Turkey.  The trip was initiated in part by my desire to understand better how the music of Morton Feldman was inspired by the Turkish rugs he had collected.  Though I am not an Islamist I was deeply moved by the Islamic Sacred Art I saw in the mosques, museums, and the great poet-saint Rumi's shrine we visited in Turkey.  My experiences in Turkey resulted in a two year project which explores in depth the idea of sacred art and my relationship to it.  The project consists of nine core projects, a Preface, an Epilogue, and more.  For a brief introduction and overview of the project you can visit this link: "An Imaginary Book." 


Most Recent Work
In mid September, 2014 I completed the first of seven parts of my project The Angels: Photographs Inspired by the Art of Paul Klee and the Writings of Henry Corbin and Tom Cheetham.  The project is an extension of the 2011 project "An Imaginary Book" and continues my exploration of the sacred in art.  It was began in August 2014 and was completed in November, 2014.  The last two parts of the project contain images I made in Acadia National Park.  Those Acadia images were more important than I had realized at the time, especially the "Rock Flower" images, for after completing the Angels project I decided to devote an entire project to the photographs I made in Acadia.  The project, entitled Acadia : Arcadia? was completed in early December, 2014.  It consists of two primary parts: Images of Acadia and The Imaginal World of Arcadia, plus an Epilogue and a Commentaries page.  The Epilogue came to me as an unexpected surprise, but I believe it to be an important step into future explorations of my creative process in photography in relation to Sacred Art.  

Future Projects?
I continue to feel very intrigued with the writings of Henry Corbin and Tom Cheetham, and particularly their ideas regarding the Icon.  Their frequent mention of prayer and its relationship to Sufism and Creative Imagination has encouraged me to more deeply into how prayer might relate to my own contemporary art practice and sacred art. ~  I may someday want to further explore the idea of sound and breath as it relates to my creative process.  The making of mandalas is directly related to mantra repetition, as you may already understand to some degree if you have seen the Epilogue to my Acadia : Arcadia? project.  I have had a long term relationship with music as a source of inspiration for my photography, and since 1987 I have been practicing mantra repetition in relationship to my practice of yoga and meditation, so perhaps it would be good to explore more deeply the nature of sound and the idea of mantra and their relationship to Creative Imagination.   (this text was revised 1-2-15)     ~  Indeed, on January 24, 2015 I posted the first of a forthcoming multi-chaptered project related to what I have just written about entitled  The Photograph As ICON

Acadia : Arcadia?  (Acadia)

Acadia : Arcadia?  (Arcadia)


The Studies Projects:
After I completed "An Imaginary Book" I decided to revisit one of my earlier, favorite projects entitled Studies 1994-2000 for inspiration, perhaps some fresh ideas for a new project. The two early Studies projects, including Studies 2: Monk's Quirky Music, are remarkable (to me) for their high level of visual invention and spontaneity, their ease of execution, and the intuitive visual depth of the work (as opposed to conceptualism). Indeed, my revisiting the two earlier Studies projects resulted in Studies III: Color Photographs 2006 - June 2013. This project was then followed by a project inspired by the great Italian still life painter Giorgio Morandi (1890-1964). The Still Life Studies IV project, with its multiple chapters, brought a whole new dimension of conceptualism to my series of Studies projects. ~ I completed Still Life in April, 2014, and the fifth Studies project The Creative Process followed in May. It has multiple chapters as well. I completed this project in early July, 2014 and immediately began Studies project VI Between Color and Black&white which I completed in August 4, 2014. ~ There has been a new tendency in my creative process to initiate and complete project ideas more quickly and with multi-chapterd sections. I'm not sure that the Studies series will need to continue. Each of the newer projects (IV, V and VI) has taken much more of a conceptual direction than the earlier ones. Perhaps in the future I will need to go back to the kind of intuitive, spontaneous energy that characterized the first three Studies projects, but for now this series appears to be on hold.

Saving The Natural World 
In the summer of 2011 I became aware that the Finger Lakes area of New York State in which we are now living was on the brink of becoming an industrial wasteland.  Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the State's Department of Environmental Conservation seemed determined at that time to force New York State to fold under growing pressures from the the natural gas and oil industry who wanted to initiate a new natural gas drilling technique in the State known as horizontal high volume hydraulic fracturing. This new technology has the potential for poisoning huge volumes of our state's valuable fresh water; this could ruin our organic faming, our state's tourism and wine industries; the fracking process and influx of heavy trucks would pollute the air we breath and destroy our highways and bridges. Hydrofracking is a violent and toxic process that would contribute significantly to the growing threats of climate change, and in general the health and well being of the residents of New York state.

On the morning of October 14, 2011, after seeing a rainbow hovering over the beautiful meadow behind our property, I decided to begin creating a website which would contain essays, environmental websites, senate testimonies, newspaper articles, science reports . . . any important real, factual scientific information that would help myself and others to understand the dangers of hydrofracking to our environment, our health, the value of our personal property . . . our entire way of life in this beautiful state!  NoToHydrofracking.blogspot.com/  

As an artist I had in the past consciously stayed away from making political statements in my many photography projects, but the creation of the hydrofracking website inspired me to make several new related projects which together formed a suite: visit The Hydrofraking Suite.  

Hydrofracking is occurring throughout the United States and all over the world; it impacts in the most horrible ways entire communities, whole environments, and the planet in general. Because the escaping methane from the hydrofracking process destroys the earth's ozone layers, hydrofracking is adding significantly to the growing problems associated with Climate Change or global warming. In October, 2013 we learned that the New York DEC was trying to fast track new regulations for gas infrastructure, and in particular Liquified Natural Gas or LNG. If this were to pass, our roads would be filled with dangerous, potentially explosive heavy duty trucks, and our state would become filled with more pipe lines and storage facilities that pollute and could explode. These LNG facilities would be the precursor to jusify opening New York State to hydrofracking.  

I am happy to say, however, that on December 17, 2014, under tremendous pressure from New York environmentalists, scientists, doctors, economists, etc.,  Gov. Cuomo announced that he would Ban hydrofracking in NY State.  He honored his initial plea to base his decision to allow or disallow hydrofracking in the state on science, especially the science having to do with its impact on human health.  Over the past several years, increased numbers of peer reviewed, independent studies have shown how dangerous hydrofracking is to human health, farming, wild life, the environment and Climate Change.   Click Here to learn more 

Hydrofracking and the use of fossil fuels like natural gas, oil and coal is literally a matter of life and death for all of us and the planet. (I highly recommend Sandra Steingraber's work, also visit EcoWatch.com) Sustainable energy options such a solar and wind are viable alternatives to the toxic fossil fuels we now use and produce in this country. It is a matter of education and political will. Please contribute to the well being of this planet and the state you live in any way that you can. It is up to all of us to get our politicians to do the right thing. Most of them will only serve the industry and their own personal, greedy ambitious agendas if we do not speak up to them. New York State is a perfect example of what is possible if we work together and stand together against large corporate entities such as gas and oil. There is much more work that needs to be done in New York State, but with the ban on fracking, we are making a large step forward into a healthier, safer, sustainable future.

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The Complete List of my
~ Photography Projects ~
____most recent to earliest____
  click on the blue hyperlinked titles 
to see the online projects

The Angels  August -- November 2014  Photographs Inspired by the art of Paul Klee and the writings of Henry Corbin and Tom Cheetham

The Space Between Color and Black&white  ~  August, 2014

Still Life ~ Photographs Inspired by Giorgio Morandi  July 2013- April 2014

Studies III   Color Photographs   2006 - 2013 

"An Imaginary Book"  2011 - 2013
The Complete Collection of  Projects 
inspired by Islamic Sacred Art &  Knowledge  
The Nine Core Projects:

The Hydrofacking Suite  2011-12

The Departing Landscape Project  2007-12 
Thematic Subgroups for the Departing Landscape Project: 

Portraits, Faces & Figures  2005-09

The Meadow  2008-09

Costa Rica  2010

Faint Photographs  2007-08

Italy  2oo7

Triadic Memories Project  2003-07 
Thematic Subgroups for the Triadic Memories Project:
Combines  2006-07


Thing Centered Photographs  2003-07  / 1992-93 

The Garage Series  1999-2000 

Monk's Quirky Music   Studies II   2011 / 1994-2000     

Studies I  Miniature Photographs inspired by  Musical Miniatures  1994 - 2000

Color Diptychs  1990-92 

River Songs  1988-89 / 2011
Family Life  1985-88

City Places  1984-85  

Images of Eden  1983-84

Dream Portraits  1982 
Lake Series  1981-82

Intimate Landscape Series  1980-81 

Negative Print Series  1978-80 
Steve Lacy Series  1977-78 / 2011

The Persephone Series  1976 / 2011

In The Woods  1974 / 2011

Other Music Inspired Projects  1968 -2011


Book Project   1966  / 2013

Videos which use my images
Music Video   2012:  Ken Hanson, Panalure  "I'm not thinking about you"     

Poetry Video  2013:  David Travis using one of images (swan and leaves)


Selected Photographs 
from the complete list of projects

click on the images to enlarge
click on the hyperlinked titles under the images 
to visit the online project

Lake Series  1981-82  


                                                  Portraits, Faces & Figures 2005-09                                                         


                                        The Abstract Photographs  2003-07                                                 


                                             In The Woods  1974 / 2011                                                        

 Combines  2006-07        

                                The Persephone Series 1976 / 2011                                                     


                                 River Songs 1988-89 / 2011                                             

                                  Images of Eden  1983-84                                                

                                                  Italy  2oo7                                                                     

                                            Steve Lacy Series  1977-78                                                    

                                                                    Negative Print Series 1978-80                                                                         


                                                     Dream Portraits  1982                                                                             



Faint Photographs  2007-08
The Hudson River Valley  2010  



Contact Information:
Steven D. Foster                                                                      
3906 Chatham Lane                                                            
Canandaigua, NY 14424                                                         
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Gallery Representation:  
Spectrum Gallery,  Rochester,  NY  Bill Edwards, Director   
Note: If you are interested in the purchase of images you see on this website, please contact Bill Edwards.

Online version of the Spectrum Gallery Exhibition January 6 thru February 25, 2012

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This link takes you to the Program Archive.  To find my interview
simple type in Foster in the Guest or Keyword search window.

 A Personal History of Photography 
This is an illustrated chronology about my involvement in photography, including personal stories, images from projects, much much more.


 Click on image once, twice to enlarge