Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Still looking

From the personal statement of art photographer Mary Lang:
For more than forty years, my discipline has been straight photography. My work is about looking and seeing, using the frame to capture a moment of perception. As a photographer, I am rooted in the phenomenal world, yet my subject matter is not so much the physical places in front of my lens, but rather the intangible and elemental quality of the space itself. Sometimes gazing into space can feel like falling off a cliff, losing your sense of self, losing solid ground. My intention is that the groundlessness in my images evokes a similar space in the mind of the viewer.

My photographs contain both the vast geographic space of mountaintops or shorelines and the minute details of a telephone wire or a string of lights on a pole. My work has long been informed by my Buddhist meditation practice.  More and more, I try to make photographs that embody the possibility that we can trust our experience as it unfolds, moment by moment; that we can pay attention without fear to the details of everyday life, held within an awareness without boundary. That awareness can be the intimate, yet vast space gazing out a car window or the almost tangible atmospheric space of early morning fog. It is the contemplative inner space of a quiet ordinary moment, the space between the in breath and the out breath, a gap full of loneliness and possibility.
Her work confirms her words. There doesn't seem to be any grand statement attached to her pictures. They aren't fraught with meaning. On the other hand they couldn't be mistaken for just snapshots either.They're composed evocations of a place at a certain time.

The last of the above photos depicts Mount Hood in Western Oregon. A beautiful area with a great damp sky.


susan said...

There's a deep quietude in her work. After looking through her portfolios it's the waterscapes that are my favorites.

Ben said...

I see what you mean. There are a couple of pictures of a lake in Alaska that have an especially serene beauty.