Welcome Page

Welcome to The Departing Landscape website
    Steven D. Foster
                    updated 1--28--2016

                 Visual Poem for the Departing Landscape  2007-12                    

~Click on images to enlarge~
Click on any dark blue hyperlinked    
words or titles to visit the entire online project
Latest Additions to the website  (Updated 1--28--2016)
click here         The Center of Being  Thing-Centered symmetrical Photographs   January, 2016

click here         Field of Vision  (4 Parts) Vermont's Fall-Colored Leaves  December, 2015

click here         As Above, So Below  ~  Mirror In the Temple   November 3, 2015
click here         Photography and Yoga  (13 Parts)  June 18, 2015 - October 2, 2015
click here         Snow : Photographs from the Silver World (10 Parts) January-May 1, 2015          

click here        The Photograph as ICON  (8 Parts)   December 14 - February, '15  
click here         Acadia--Arcadia?  (4 parts)   September-December 2014
click here         The Angels  (7 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 ~ (11 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"  (11 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 each of my online photography projects, including projects dating back to the 1960s as well as 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 all of my photography projects and their hyperlinks. Over the nearly fifty year history of my work that is presented, 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 or favorite subject matter, and spent a lifetime embellishing the singular theme with but gradual variations.  Rather, I have followed the impulses of my intuitions and personal interests and thus have explored a broad range of ideas, attitudes 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 I have allowed my practice of yoga to become a more public presence in the contemplations on my creative process.  In 2011 I began a series of projects which explore the idea of the sacred in art and it's relation to my creative process.  In May, 2015, I finally began a photography project that deals directly with my creative process in relationship to my experience of yoga (click here).

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 reflects my love of Feldman's music but also my deep and growing concern for the safety of the environment and Climate Change, which I have written about in more detail further below.

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 shrine of the great Sufi poet-saint Rumi we visited in Turkey.  My experiences during that trip in Turkey resulted in a two year, multi-chaptered 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: A Brief Introduction to "An Imaginary Book." 


Most Recent Work
"An Imaginary Book" set in motion an ongoing series of projects that have continued and expanded upon my exploration of the Sacred in art and the question: What is Sacred Art?, and How does Sacred Art fit into contemporary art practice, and in particular my own practice as a photographer?  In November, 2014 I completed my project The Angels.  After that project I decided to devote an entire project to the photographs made in Acadia National Park entitled Acadia : Arcadia?   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 as it includes a visual contemplation on an important yogic scripture.  The yogic influence in the Epilogue became an important next step into additional explorations regarding Sacred Art.

After The Angels and the Acadia projects I became even more intrigued with the writings of Henry Corbin on Sufism and Tom Cheetham's writing about Corbin, and particularly their ideas regarding the Icon, and it's relationship to prayer and Sufism, and Corbin's ideas about Creative Imagination.  The Photograph As ICONcompleted in February, 2015 explores these questions.   

As I was completing the Epilogue to the Icon project there was a confluence of several related events in relation to the last image I presented on that project page: a rather abstract photograph of snow.  The winter of 2015 was extreme in terms of its low temperatures, high winds, and constant snowfalls.  This led me back to an old fascination I have had with Asian Art, Zen and Taoism.  Throughout one of the most difficult winters in the history of Western New York State, I worked on and completed the project which is entitled Snow: Photographs from the Silver World

I had been carefully referencing yogic teachings in my series of sacred art projects over the last four years; it finally occurred to me that it was time for me to address yoga directly in relationship to my creative process.  Yoga had become a primary focus of the Epilogue to the ICON project and I believe served to give me courage to approach the idea of an entire multi-chaptered project on the relationship of my creative process in photography to my practice of yoga (which began with great intensity in 1987).  I completed the Introductory part of the project entitled Photography and Yoga in mid-May, 2015.  The last of the 13 parts of the Yoga project was completed October 2, 2015.  In projects that have since followed I have continued to integrate yogic teachings into my texts and commentaries.  

After completion of the Yoga project I became fascinated with the yogic idea of the body as a temple.  But as I began to contemplate how I would make photographs for this idea I recalled a text written by Henry Corbin about the Temple, and the mirror in the temple.  The project that unfolded from Corbin's textual influence was As Above, So Below  ~  Mirror In the Temple, which is a transitional project that integrates yogic teachings and Corbin's ideas about the temple and the mirror.  The project was completed November 3, 2015.  The conclusion of that project introduced the idea of the Field in relation to the Temple.  The concept of the field led me to the four-part project, Field of Vision, which explores the idea of the visual field in relationship to Sufi Turkish Carpets, Corbin's Imaginal World, his ideas about prayer and Creative Imagination, and yogic teachings on Nature.    

Future Projects?

One of three photographs in the project As Above, So Below is a symmetrical photograph of a bird bath that looks like a Thing Centered Photograph, a major picture making concern of mine which began in the 1980's.  (see the bird bath image below).  This has awakened in me to the possibility of a project exploring the Symmetrical Thing-Centered Photographs.  We will see what my creative process has in mind for me; I am at its service.   SF

Acadia : Arcadia?  (Acadia)

Acadia : Arcadia?  (Arcadia)

The "Studies" projects:

After I completed "An Imaginary Book" I decided to revisit two of my earlier, favorite projects entitled Studies 1994-2000 and Studies 2: Monk's Quirky Music. I was hoping this earlier work might suggest a direction for a new project. The two earlier Studies projects 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, for example, to conceptualism). The image size of the Studies, 3.5" square, I think encouraged spontaneity and experimentation. ~ My revisiting the two earlier Studies projects resulted in Studies III: Color Photographs 2006 - June 2013. This project then helped lead me to 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 growing series of Studies projects. ~ I completed Still Life in April, 2014, and the fifth Studies project The Creative Process followed in May. It also has multiple chapters. I completed The Creative Process project in early July, 2014 and immediately began Studies project VI Between Color and Black&white which I completed in August 4, 2014. ~ This more recent series of Studies projects made it apparent to me that a new tendency in my creative process had taken form. Where in earlier projects I might have spent nearly a year or more to complete them (the first Studies project lasted six years!), now I was initiating and completing project ideas in much shorter time frames, and the projects were becoming more conceptually based, and with multi chapters or parts. ~ If I feel I am getting bogged down too much in conceptual frameworks, and I feel the need to become refreshed, I'll always have my early Studies projects to go back to for stimulation and inspiration, for I truly love this large body of miniature photographs.

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: horizontal high volume hydraulic fracturing. This new technology, known as "fracking" had the potential for poisoning huge volumes of our state's valuable fresh water; it could have ruined our states's organic faming, tourism and wine industries. Hydrofracking is a violent and toxic process that contributes significantly to the growing threats of climate change, and in general the health and well being of the residents of the many states in this country which is using the process to produce methane gas for use in this country and for shipping abroad in the form of LNG, liquified natural gas, an extremely toxic production process which yields a very dangerous product.

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, and which would negatively impact the value of our personal property . . . and our entire way of life in this beautiful state! Here is the website:  NoToHydrofracking.blogspot.com/  

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

Hydrofracking is now 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 (methane is over 20 times more harmful than hydrocarbons over a 20 year period) hydrofracking is adding significantly to the growing problems associated with Climate Change. 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 be permitted, 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 could explode, leak, and in general pollute the environment and the atmosphere and be very harmful to animal and human health. These LNG facilities would then be the precursor to jusify opening New York State to hydrofracking.  

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 seemed to be honoring his initial plea to base his decision to allow or disallow hydrofracking in the state on the basis of 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   Unfortunately Gov. Cuomo and his DEC took over six months to finalize the Ban of fracking in NY State.   http://www.dec.ny.gov/press/102337.html   In the meantime he and his DEC has allowed toxic fracking waste to be brought into NY State dumps, he has allowed gas and oil infrastructure to expand within the state with an eye to exporting gas and oil overseas, and he has allowed the gas and oil industry to store toxic gas and oil products on the shores of Seneca Lake, a source of drinking water for over 100,000 people.  This is so obviously outrageous, given the findings statement that came out June 29, 2015 which finalized the ban on fracking in NY State.  Though the State finally admits they know how bad fracking is for the environment and the health of people, animals, the real threat of fracking and storage and processing of gas received from outside the state is still alive and kicking. 

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 entire 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 produce and use 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 to transition immediately to sustainable energy alternatives. It is up to all of us to get our politicians to do the right thing. Most of them will only serve the corporate industry and their own personal, greedy ambitious political agendas if we do not speak up and stand up to them and insist. 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 at least making a large step forward toward a healthier, safer, sustainable future not only for the State of New York but for the entire planet.

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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

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The Center of Being : Thing-Centered Symmetrical Photographs
Part 1   :   The Internal Dimensions of an Object 
Part 2   :   Commentary on Selected Photographs
Part 3   :   Epilogue

Field of Vision

Part 1 : Photographs ~ Vermont's Fall-Colored Leaves  December 1, 2015

Photography and Yoga
YOGA  Part 1      Seeing the Self Everywhere and In Everything   June 18, 2015
YOGA  Part 2     The Ritual of Visualizing Sacred Worlds  June 29, 2015
YOGA  Part 3     Flashing-forth ~ Perception, Creation, the Pratyabhijna-hrdayam  July 4, 2015
YOGA  Part 4     God Exists In My Feeling  ~  July 17, 2015
YOGA  Part 5     Guru's Grace   July 31, 2015  ~  Gurupurnima
YOGA  Part 6     Silence   August 15-16, 2015  ~  Anniversary date of my Shaktipat Intensive, 1987
YOGA  Part 7     Light   September 1, 2015
YOGA  Part 8    Time   September 1, 2015
YOGA  Part 9     The Discipline of Seeing   September 1, 2015
YOGA  Part 10   Vision of the Heart   September 18, 2015
YOGA  Part 11   Threshold of the Formless   September 18, 2015
YOGA  Part 12   Epilogue   October 2, 2015
YOGA  Part 13   Commentaries on Photographs   October 2, 2015

Snow : Photographs  from The Silver World  January ~ May 2015 
SNOW   Part 1    Photographs from the Silver World ~  Set I 

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 Colorand  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:  
I was represented by Spectrum Gallery,  Rochester,  NY  Bill Edwards, Director, from January 6, 2012 through mid-June, 2015 when the gallery closed.

Online version of the Spectrum Gallery Exhibition of 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.


End of Welcome page