– Sacred Groves –

These images were photographed while in residency at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. During most of my stay, I had been using a large format 4”x5” field camera – an exacting process. One evening, as “golden hour” approached, I grabbed my 35mm camera and walked around the grounds, using my intuition to stop and photograph spontaneously. The idea was to keep my eye “fresh”. The resulting images caught the firey colors of that long twilight and I liked the sense of mobility they had.

I was struck by how a tree or its grouping would have a distinctive personality or character, or how a particular spot could look beautiful or foreboding by turns. Celtic cultures venerated tress, and conducted much of their spiritual life outdoors. Native Americans speak of “power spots”; Indigenous cultures world-wide relate to the natural world as an animate being that lives and breathes. In photographing a landscape, I want to convey the imminence of a particular spot, the numinous spirit of a place.

As I worked the photographs into groupings, the sequences seemed to become a comment on our own culture’s fragmented response to the natural world, and its separation from it. Some of the sequences call up the natural world vanishing with alarming speed, or the fleeting beauty of a landscape viewed through a car window.

The resulting series can be seen as a sort of love poem to place. Our culture seems determined to manipulate and control the natural world, while our souls seem to long for a way back to balance with it. The Sacred Groves series addresses that yearning.