Intimate Landscape

Intimate Landscape 1980-81
Silver gelatin prints  14x14” on 16x20 paper base

This project followed the Negative Print / Memories of Childhood Series, and was the prelude to The Lake Series.

The negative prints are very light, clean and luminous; the intimate landscapes are dark and industrial dirty.  The lake pictures are airy and spacey; the intimate landscapes are close-up and claustrophobic.   

My “mantra” for the intimate landscape was The Landscape is a horizontal line.   I repeated this to myself while out in the Milwaukee Industrial Valley photographing.  I remember seeing Eliot Porter’s book of color photographs entitled “Intimate Landscapes” and I used that as a point of departure for this new body of work which I wanted to be something much darker (literally black and white) and more abstract.

If you know the lake pictures, which are nothing but horizons upon horizons . . .  then it is clear that the Intimate Landscape Series functioned not only as a change-of-pace (in all kinds of ways) from the negative print series, but was also functioning as a kind of preparation for the lake project.  It was hot and smelly and dirty in the industrial valley.  Photographing the lake was like taking a refreshing bath.

Also, There is some very important work being done here in regards to the Thing Centered Photographs project which came into being a few years after Intimate Landscapes.  

When I lived in New Mexico I was always attracted to large rocks just laying in the landscape all alone.  I was always trying to make that photograph and never succeeded.  It’s tricky making a thing photograph: I want the thing to be able to speak for itself, but the context in which it sits is part of it’s “voice.”  On the other hand if you pay too much attention to the context, then the thing simply becomes one part of a formal composition.  So, it seems to me I was learning about photographic and emotional directness in the Intimate Landscape series; not only directness to things but also directness to space . . . which the lake pictures are about in some ways.

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       17 Intimate Landscape  for Larry F.   3-17-17

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