I am a Boston, Massachusetts-based photographer grounded in the man-made environment. I am most apt to gain an understanding of a place or culture from reading the built environment and seeing how people live in and interact with it, and indeed are defined by it.
My photography has been influenced by my professional work in the field of historic preservation through which I have developed skills to read the historical and contemporary landscapes that resonate deeply within me.
Over the last several years I find myself seeking to portray the essence of place, a metaphor if you will, rather than merely recording it with my camera. While I have used black and white infrared for this purpose, increasingly multiple-exposure techniques are allowing me to abstract architectural spaces and forms and to convey my thoughts and feelings. I seem to be following the path that Paul Klee defined: “Art does not reproduce the visible but makes it visible.”
THE ARCHITECT CALLED LIGHT
My project is to explore the idea of Light as an architect, the creator of forms and spaces, and capture that idea with my camera. The theme I have chosen is: ‘Do not show me what it is, show me what else it is’ (Minor White).
I am influenced by the teachings of the Bauhaus Art School that was founded by Walter Gropius (1883-1969) in 1919. Gropius saw architecture as spatial art. Paul Klee taught his students that “Art does not reproduce the visible but makes it visible,” which Minor White echoed forty years later. Color was considered a material like wood or metal but also had “ the power to influence the soul,” as taught by Walter Kandinsky. And Laszlo Moholy-Nagy experimented with photographic abstractions using multiple exposures and phonograms.
Kandinsky wrote in Concerning the Spiritual in Art that “it is clear, therefore, that the choice of object must be decided only by a corresponding vibration in the human soul”. The subject of my project is the residence Walter Gropius built in 1937 for his family when he became the chairman of the Architecture Department at Harvard University. He built his residence in the modernist design that he had developed in his architectural practice. I want to show you the effect of Light on the exterior of his home. My photographic techniques are in-camera multiple exposure and color shift offered by the Fuji X4 camera, Lightroom and Photoshop.
When I visit the Gropius House this summer I feel calm, drawn in by the beauty of the clean geometric lines and forms and their harmony with the surrounding natural landscape. Summer’s Light forms detail on the white wooden surface. I find joy in the rhythm of the ribbon windows. At night their lamp-lit panes play across a grove of pine trees behind the house.
Light streams through a rectangular well connecting a cloud-filled sky with a courtyard of stillness at the rear of the house and it also performs shadow play with the wooden beams of the second-floor porch. The exterior walls of each place respond intimately to the surrounding natural landscape offering light and shadow meditations.
As I leave the property I look back to the glass blocks at the entrance reflecting spent Light. To their right is a spiral stairway to the second-floor porch, perhaps symbolizing my journey of awareness as told in these images in a palette of blue and white, colors of peace and harmony.
I am grateful for the workshop I have been in this summer. Valda Bailey and Doug Chinnery have offered me an experience to explore creative techniques using the medium of photography. I see their atelier as an art school conducted in the Spirit of the Bauhaus adapted for the 21st century.