Welcome Page

Welcome to The Departing Landscape website
    Steven D. Foster
"Visual Poem" for The Departing Landscape Project 


~ ~ Recently Added Projects ~ ~
The most recent addition:

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The WATER Photographs project 
(A multi-chaptered project)
Puddles, Mirrors, Falls, Brooks, Ponds, Lakes, Rivers, Bathers, Death, Fog, Snow
7.  (Watch for it in March)

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

 August 2, 2018

 July 4, 2018

May 21, 2018
April 11, 2018
March 9, 2018

Completed February 1, 2018
See my complete listing of photography projects 
further below, following the Introductory texts.


~ Click on all images to enlarge ~
~ Click on Blue Hyperlinked Words to Open Links ~ 
  THIS PAGE WAS LAST REVISED:  February 2, 2019

Welcome to the Departing Landscape Website which is dedicated to exploring and sharing with you my creative process in photographic picture-making. You will find on this, the Welcome Page, a Complete Illustrated Listing, in chronological order, of my online photography projects, beginning with the most recently completed projects and including a few early projects dating back to the mid-1960's.  Click on the hyperlinked Project Titles to see the complete online projects.  A few of the projects contain multiple pages, each with their own hyperlinked title.  I also invite you to visit my Personal History of Photography which is an illustrated biographical chronology of my life experience in photography.  

About the Title of My Website
Many of my photography projects have been directly or indirectly inspired by music.  This website's title The Departing Landscape was taken from a phrase which the great American composer Morton Feldman used to describe how sound leaves us in our hearing as it decays into silence.

When I began creating this blog-website in 2010 I had been in the process of completing a multi-chaptered project entitled The Departing Landscape Project.  While the title suggests my fascination with Feldman's music and ideas, it also reflects my deep and growing concern for the well being of our beautiful Planet Earth and all of its many forms of life.  I have never considered myself a political artist or activist, and I have consciously avoided gearing my work towards political issues; but I found myself needing to defend something that I knew in my heart was right.  The Earth is Sacred; it therefore must be treated with love and respect, nurtured and protected.  

The global environment has already passed the 350.org tipping point.  There was a time when we could have perhaps turned back the ever quickening process of decay of the planet; now all we can hope to do is slow down the process of deterioration being speeded up by human greed and ignorance.  But that has become even more of an alarming issue with the presence of D Trump and his administration--which irresponsibly denies science and the reality of Climate Change, and seems to be doing everything in its power to do serious harm to the planet, democracy, middle-class America and America's standing in the world among other concerned nations.

Sacred Art Projects
In 2011 I began a series of projects, beginning with "An Imaginary Book" which explores the idea of the sacred in a contemporary art practice such as my own.  The number of Sacred Art Photography Projects has grown rapidly in the last six years; it has become my primary thematic focus as an artist since I have consciously merged my creative process in photography with my yoga meditation practice.   

Over the past fifty years several thematic trends have asserted their presence in my work across a large number of bodies of work.  I have provided below a brief listing of thematic categories, each with its own link that will provide you with a complete list of my online projects within each of the thematic collections. 

A little background information
I began constructing this website in 2010, three years after I retired from teaching Photography as a Fine Art at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.  In 2008 my wife Gloria and I moved to Canandaigua, NY.  In 2012, after exhibiting my work in a commercial gallery in Rochester, NY (click here) I made the decision to discontinue trying to exhibit my work in galleries and museums and instead focus all my creative energies toward the production of online photography projects for presentation on this website.  

The Departing Landscape Website has thus become both an "exhibition space" for my newest work and an archive for nearly all of the photography projects I have created over my career which dates back to 1955, when I experienced an Epiphany that set me on my path as a photographer.  I have written a brief essay about that life transforming experience, and it is included below, along with and two other epiphanic stories.

Gallery Representation
I thought my days of gallery representation and exhibiting had come to an end, and I was content with that because I had this blog through which I was sharing my work.  However in the spring of 2017 John Sobczak, Director of the new contemporary art gallery in Milwaukee, The Alice Wilds, contacted me and insisted that my work should be seen again in Milwaukee.  John has lots of experience in the world of art galleries, he has a genuine love of art and a very good understanding and appreciation of my work;  despite my reluctances I simply could not say no to him, nor Jon Horvath who conspired with John in the process of inviting me to exhibit at the Alice Wilds and who assisted in the preparations for the exhibition.  The exhibition was up from March 16 - April 28, 2018 and I was present at the Gallery Night Opening on April 20; and on Saturday, April 21 I gave a public Gallery Talk.   (visit my project The Rising Sun ~ Prelude To An Exhibition to learn more about the exhibition and to see the e-announcements for the show at the very bottom of the page.)  //  The Alice Wilds is the only gallery that represents my work.  Any interest in purchasing prints of images seen on this website should be directed to John Sobczak at the gallery. 

Click on the Images to Enlarge
All photographs on this page, and on most of my project pages, can be enlarged by clicking on the image once, twice.  After enlarging an image, click on the left-pointing arrow in the upper left corner of the screen to return to the same project page.

Thank you for visiting The Departing Landscape. 

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Collections of Thematic Related Projects


The Music Inspired Photography Projects  (click here)
Composer Morton Feldman, Steve Lacy, Thelonious Monk, Charles Ives, Chopin, Liszt, William Bolcom, Delius, Vaughn Williams, Frank Bridge, Wagner, Valentin Silvestrov . . . 

The "Studies" projects  (click here)

The Sacred Art Photography Projects  (click here)

Landscape Photography Projects  (click here)

The Thing-Centered Photographs  (click here)

Still Life  (click here)
Note:  The link I have provided here goes to my project entitled Still Life which was inspired by the painting of the great Italian still life and landscape artist, Morandi.  There are ten chapters plus an Epilogue to the project, so it is far ranging in conceptual and visual scope.  I have made many "still life" photographs for my other Studies projects as well. 

Portraits, Faces, Figures & Visual Poems   (click here)

Three Multiple-Exposure Projects  (click here)

The Homage Photography Projects  (click here)

Snow Photographs  (click here)

WATER Photographs  (in process: see"Recently Added Projects" above)

One Other Project  (click here)

Collected Writings (click here)

Contact Info, Resume, Gallery Representation, Brief Bio, and more  (click here)

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Influences ~ Teachers 
While I was living in Rochester, NY and going to school at the Rochester Institute of Technology as a photography major (1963-66), I studied with Minor White, and I also took two year-long home workshops with Nathan Lyons.  At that time Nathan was Director or Exhibitions at George Eastman House, in Rochester, NY; in the early 1970's he would become the founder and director of the Visual Studies Workshop in Rochester, NY. 

I then went to Chicago and studied with Aaron Siskind and Wynn Bullock while completing my undergraduate degree at the Institute of Design, IIT (1966-68).  In graduate school at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, I studied with Van Deren Coke, Beaumont Newhall and Ray Metzker.  In 1974, when I was teaching at Georgia State University, Atlanta I was fortunate in being able to spend three days in close contact with one of my mentors, Fredrick Sommer.

Other influences include: photographers Alfred Stieglitz and Edward Weston; and many painters have influenced my work, such as Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, and Morandi.  (I have created projects directly inspired by Morandi and Klee.)  I have also been influenced by writers and scholars including Carl Jung, Henry Corbin, Tom Cheetham, Gaston Bachelard; and the poets Robert Bly, Rainer Maria Rilke, and Francis Ponge.  I have dedicated an entire page to the influence music has had on my work (click here), and in 2018 I created two projects that pays Homage to All My Teachers and to Minor White and Alfred Stieglitz and Valentin Silvestrov.   

The Symbolic Photograph
When I was a Graduate student in New Mexico (1969-72) I became close friends with a fellow photography student, Dick Knapp, who introduced me to the ideas and writings of depth psychologist Carl Jung.  I then took a class in Mythology which emphasized Jung's psychological-archetypal perspectives.  The inherent power of the material covered in that class, the teacher's passion for the material, and Jung's profoundly insightful view of the world and the psyche persuaded me to devote my MFA written thesis to an examination of my creative process in photography in relation to Jung's ideas, especially those regarding the symbol, the archetypes, his study of alchemy, and his theory about synchronicity.  Indeed, at that time (1972) I was convinced that synchronicity was at the very center of the power of my creative process and the symbolic photograph; and it has remained a very important concept to me even today.  I titled my thesis :  The Symbolic Photograph : A Means to Self-Knowledge ~ A Jungian Approach to the Photographic Opus.  I have outlined the key ideas at this link:  Click here

Despite my spiritual leanings, and my fascination with Jung's ideas, I became discontent with myself as a person.  Even though I was doing well in my career as a teacher and exhibiting artist, and I was married to a wonderful woman and we had two wonderful children, I began feeling deep inside myself that these things in themselves were not fulfilling me in the way that I had hoped they would.  I was longing for something more, and intuitively I sensed that I needed a teacher, a true teacher, though I could not quite consciously admit this to myself, nor could I have ever imagined how I would find what I was longing for.

The Epiphany of 1987 
I have since learned that life has a way of giving us what we need if the longing is deep enough and pure enough.  I was eventually led--reluctantly at first--to Gurumayi Chidvilasananda, the living head and meditation Master of the Siddha Yoga Path.  After I met her in August, 1987, I experienced a series of amazing, life-transforming encounters with grace, the sacred energy known as chiti shakti, which left no doubt in my mind--and more importantly, in my heart--that I had found my teacher.  Gurumayi, and the practices of Siddha Yoga have had a profound influence on my life and my creative process in photography.  I have come to understand that photography, for me, is a form of spiritual practice, a kind of meditation in action.  Through my practice of picture-making I have come to deeper understanding of Gurumayi's teachings, and the yogic scriptures.  I have written about my life-transforming experiences with Gurumayi, and the relationships between my practice of photography and the practices of Siddha Yoga in full detail in my multi-chaptered project Photography and Yoga and many other photography projects.  See my listing of the Sacred Art projects. 

The Epiphany of 2011
In 2011, while my wife Gloria and I were traveling in Turkey, I had a series of mysterious experiences--what Henry Corbin would define as intuitive, personal visionary experiences, psychic events, encounters with the sacred--all directly related to various forms of Islamic Sacred Art.  The most important of these experiences took place in the Turkish and Islamic Art Museum in Istanbul.  As I was looking at a collection of old, magnificently illuminated Qur'ans, one of the books seemed to come alive.  I experienced this beautiful, sacred book as if it were "breathing."  It seemed literally radiant with a self-luminous presence.  The book seemed to emit a palpable sacred energy which I felt flowed into and through my body.  After that experience a new level of enthusiasm for art-making flooded my being.  

The sacred or divine energy that I experienced in Turkey is the same energy I experience in my practice of yoga.  I have no doubt that the grace I had received from Gurumayi, since meeting her in 1987, had prepared me, "opened" me, allowed me to be receptive to the sacred  presence embodied within that illuminated Qur'an I experienced in Istanbul. 

After I got back home and started working on a blog about the trip, it occurred to me, with stunning surprise, that I did not understand the true nature of what is commonly referred to as "sacred art."  A deep desire welled up within me, a strong inner conviction: I needed to know what "sacred art" was at its most essential level, and what it must mean for me since I had became obsessed wanting to understand it.  I studied intensely to gain both an historical perspective, but also, more importantly, a deeply personal and conscious relationship with the idea of sacred art through my own creative process in photography.

So many questions came up for me: 
Was sacred art possible today?  Could sacred art be manifested through a contemporary art practice (such as my own?) in a world so tarnished by fear and anger, corporate and political corruption, the rapid decay of the natural world 

My studies led me to the writings of many wonderful scholars, but the most important ones, for me, were Henry Corbin and his writings on Sufism, the mystical aspect of Islam, and the writings of Tom Cheetham, whose four contemplative books on Corbin's work helped me to see more clearly the deeper nuances of Corbin's ideas and motivated me to read Corbin's writings directly.  What had begun as a simple travel blog of Turkey slowly blossomed into the very large, ambitious, multi-chaptered project, "An Imaginary Book."  This project, which took nearly two years to complete, then unfolded into the continuing and rapidly growing series of related Sacred Art Photography Projects.

When I was teaching and exhibiting my work in commercial galleries, I was shy and extremely careful about speaking openly on matters of the spiritual in my work.  It was only after meeting Gurumayi and practicing Siddha Yoga in a committed enthusiastic way for many years, and had many palpable, profoundly transforming experiences of the sacred energy known as citi shakti, that I began to feel some willingness and confidence to speak from personal experience about my relationship to the sacred through my creative process in photography.

The making of of this website and the creation of "An Imaginary Book" have been two very important and related turning points in my Creative Process.  The website gave me the forum through which I could contemplate, visually explore, and verbally articulate the theme of the sacred within my creative process.  It has also provided me with an intimate and articulate means of sharing my Creative Process publicly for all to see.  I believe that sharing one's Creative Process with others is a sacred duty, and, this sharing then becomes part of the means by which certain aspects of the creative-spiritual process of unfloding approaches a more fully realized sense of completion.  

The Epiphany of 1955
When I was nearly ten years of age I experienced a profoundly important moment of self-recognition that directed me to my life's work in photography.  One day, in the summer of 1955, my cousin came running excitedly toward me with something he wanted to show me.  In his hands--which he held out to me as if in a gesture of offering something very precious to him--were a batch of snapshots he had just gotten back from the drugstore.  When I saw those little photographs I knew instantaneously that I must become, I would become a photographer.

My dad was in the hospital when this happened; he would die a few weeks later.  In fact I actually experienced his death in a feverish dream-like state the night he passed away. . . but that is another story (#5).  A few months later, I received--as a Christmas present I had asked for--a darkroom kit with which I could process my own film and make little contact prints from my negatives.  I set up a temporary darkroom in the basement and from that moment on devoted my life to photographic picture-making. 

It is quite clear to me, now, that photography had come to me as a sacred gift.  Grace had helped me to discover my destined life as a photographer and teacher--I have no doubts about that.  Indeed, photography filled the space of my absent father; it took me out of a small town in Indiana and into an unlikely world of art galleries, museums, and universities; and I believe it helped me find my way to my true teacher, Gurumayi and the Siddha Yoga Path.  

See my online chronology A Personal History of Photography for more detailed accounts of my life in photography.


When I look carefully and deeply into my life, the experiences that have graced me over the past seventy-plus years, I can sense that there has always been an overarching connection between things, a meaning and a direction to my life.  It's as if I have been guided by some unknown invisible force.  Since meeting Gurumayi I have come to realize that grace has constantly transforming my life in the most profound ways, and that has made me all the more grateful for the love and support I have received from wife Gloria and our two children, my friends and students, my photography, and the practices of  Siddha Yoga.  

I know it is difficult for most people to understand what a true teacher, a yoga Master like Gurumayi, can mean in one's life, for indeed it is unusual and mysterious.  I am profoundly grateful for Gurumayi's presence in my life, her teachings and the grace I have received from her.  Yoga is a transforming Creative Process which consists primarily of purifying the ego so that the heart becomes fully open and accessible.  Every life is a Creative Process; and I believe that what I have received from Gurumayi and the Siddha Yoga Path is essential to any true Creative Process.  My practice of photography and my practice of yoga have merged into one life-affirming exploration of the Unity of Being, and for this I am truly grateful.

Thank you for visiting my website.  I warmly invite you to view any (and all) of my projects listed below.  Your participation in the work is an important, integral part of my Creative Process, so once again I thank you.  

Steven D Foster  

revised: June, 2018
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Complete List 
~ Photography Projects ~

In Chronological Order, 
from the Most Recent and 
Dating Back to the mid-1960's 

  click on the blue hyperlinked titles 

to see the online projects

~ click on the images to enlarge them ~


WATER Photographs
September 26, 2018 . . .  February 2, 2019 (& continuing)  

from "The Bathers"


I Was So Happy To See
My Friend's Face
August 2, 2018


Studies IX : Lila
July 4, 2018


Postlude To An Exhibition: 
Homage To Minor White
Alfred Stieglitz  & Valentin Silvestrov
May 21, 2018


Snow Photographs : Homage To Harry Callahan 
and All My Teachers
April 11, 2018


The Rising Sun ~ Prelude To An Exhibition
March 9, 2018


Homage to Robert Ryman
October 2017 - January 2018

1.  Introduction & Commentary  December 25, 2017
2.  Surface Veils, Delight & Enlightenment  Jan 16, 2018
3.  Epilogue  February 1, 2018


Broad Brook Photographs
October 14, 2017
November 14, 2017


Homage to Giacometti
July 12 - October 31, 2017


Blue Symmetrical Photographs
June 1, 2017


The Eye of Siva
White  Blue & Gold Snow Photographs
May 1, 2017


The Siva Sutra Rock Photographs
April 2, 2017


The Pulsating Uncreated Heart : Origin & Center of Creation
March 12, 2017


Creation-Dissolution of a World
February 14, 2017



January 27, 2017


Time  Time-Changes  Sacred Time 
New Year's Day, 2017


Snow Angels
Rilke's Angel of the Elegies
Khidr, Angel of the Earth
December 9, 2016


A Meditation
in Photographs & Texts
Broad Brook Symmetrical Photographs
November 15, 2016


Broad Brook Photographs 
9-10 & 9-11 .  2016
October 10, 2016


Studies VIII : Sufism
Signs, Veils, the Symbolic Photograph
"records of encounters with God
in the details of everyday life"
September, 2016


Photographs & Poetry
featuring the poems of 
and other Poet-Saints
August, 2016


Zoo Photographs
July, 2016


The City of Souls
June, 2016


Babysitting Photographs

May 4, 2016

Sleepy Baby Stroller Views & Dreamscapes
On the Ground Floor
Symmetrical Constructions
Commentaries & Epilogue


There is No Thing To Know 
April, 2016


The Blue Pearl
March, 2016


The Center of Being  
Thing-Centered Symmetrical Photographs
January-February, 2016 


Field of Vision
December, 2015



As Above, So Below

  November 3, 2015


Photography and Yoga
June-October, 2015 


Snow : Photographs  from The Silver World  
January ~ May 2015 

August, 2014


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

   2006 - 2013 


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

The Nine Core Projects:

The Hydrofacking Suite  

The Departing Landscape Project  











Triadic Memories Project  

  2003-07  / 1992-93



  Studies II   2011 / 1994-2000  


Studies I
1994 - 2000



  1988-89 / 2011




City Places 

Images of Eden


Dream Portraits

Lake Series


Intimate Landscape Series

Negative Print Series

Steve Lacy Series
  1977-78 / 2011


In The Woods
  1974 / 2011


Other Music Inspired Projects
  1968 -2011

from the hand made book "Kraus" 1968 inspired by the music of Wagner

Early Book Project
   1966  / 2013


in which my images are used



Contact Information:
Steven D. Foster                                                                      
3906 Chatham Lane                                                            
Canandaigua, NY 14424                                                         
Tel. 585-394-2769
Email: sf@uwm.edu   

Brief Bio

Gallery Representation (as of August 1917) 
The Alice Wilds,  Contemporary Art Gallery,  Milwaukee, Wi.

This was my last photography exhibition.  I have since then posted all of the fruits of 
my creative process to this blog-website. 

This link takes you to the Program Archive.  

 A Personal History of Photography 

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

Thank you for visiting my Departing Landscape website.


End of Welcome page