Irene Imfeld, March 2023
Landscape photography is as far-ranging as the vast number of images we have either seen or made. Our addiction to the internet, where travel is often reduced
to an achievement (bucket list) obliterates the awe we once felt experiencing nature. Touchstone presents a group of thoughtful and skilled practitioners making monochrome images. Each makes a statement about what draws them to the earth.
Traditional fine darkroom prints by Mark Citret and Michael Starkman portray the quiet allure of atmosphere and landscape. Susannah Hays’ badlands vistas, printed on Kozo, show entropic forms that touch our inner wilderness. Tony Bellaver’s accordion book of platinum prints with text unfolds on a forest after logging and and reflects humanity’s impact on the planet. Cindy Stokes captures exquisite fluid patterns in her dimensional depictions of water, printed on Asuka, and in her abstract images of ice.
Throughout photographic history, black and white photography endures as the long-held touchstone. Vintage or contemporary, sharply focused or abstract, no other medium seems to capture the timeless depth of our imagination. A rhythm of change, seen from a human perspective, reveals land and its scale. We see nature as a reflection of our inner selves, and we get lost in the patterns of organic life.
Here, without attention to where and when the image was captured, all we know is near or far. Labels and data are outside our intention. Instead, we are guided to sense the earth’s presence. While not summoning an untouched ‘sublime’ place, or advocating for environmental change, the photographs in this exhibit present moments of clarity, insight, and enchantment.
As photographic practice expands via new and old methods, as a medium it also refocuses our present concerns. It embodies visions of the earth, both rhapsodic and solid, of the same essence as ourselves.