Norwegian shore - A Form Of Wilderness -
"Discovery consists of seeing what everybody else has seen – and thinking what nobody else has thought”
- Albert Szent-Gyorgi, Nobel Prize winner
I began to photograph Norway accompanied by my students at Oslo Fotokunstskole in 1998. Leading workshops in outdoor photography and following them to their favorite places, I found a motif that resonates deeply with my longing for the wide open spaces of the American landscape – the Norwegian shore where land, sea, sky, and northern light create a feeling of vast space and insular wildness. I began work with the artistic intention of discovering a personal sense of place within the natural character of the Norwegian landscape.
Traditional outdoor photography places a premium on striking conjecture and momentary epiphany – the “trophy shot” in a critique of the Ansel Adams school of nature and landscape photography. While nature’s moment of extraordinary beauty is the basis of my photography, I feel it is important to acknowledge my own part in the making of photographs. I wish to explore the idea that a photograph is constructed from thinking about the subject as much as it is from “seeing the thing itself” as Edward Weston would say. Does this mean that we photograph what we know and not what we see? Or does this idea simply recognize that art is both a subjective and an objective cognitive process?
The Norwegian shore photographs are an attempt to develop a more complex understanding of the connections between traditional landscape aesthetics and contemporary environmental awareness. My intent has not been to express my feelings for the land but to convey or to communicate ideas about how we perceive nature. My work is deeply concerned with ideas about the meaning and significance of images. I want to use traditional landscape photography to construct images that metaphor current issues of how humans value nature and the environment.