For the past five years, I have been making photographs in the snow and ice. I am interested in metaphor, and have sought to comprehend our human place in this world.
On the surface, these images are quite beautiful. They appear elegantly simple and accessible, evoking, perhaps, the silent tranquility that one might feel after a fresh snowfall. Beneath the surface, however, there is a subtle tension. Like fine haiku, each image quietly references another season, a time of life or activity that has already passed, and may come again. Throughout the series run the leitmotifs of poles and ropes and a palette of man-made color. The relationship between the human and the natural world becomes more tightly intertwined as the series progresses, and the cycles of life and death and transformation fold inward.
This interest in time passage and life cycles becomes distilled in explorations of water itself. Ice, snow, fog and water embody the liminal states of a primary element. At times, the multiple forms exist simultaneously. It is as though the thing itself possesses its own counterpoint- and transformation is a constant condition, despite seeming moments of stillness.
I initially sketch a concept or idea which I have for an image. Then, I photograph each piece of the photomontage using a Nikon D700 or a medium format film camera, generally a Mamiya Pro TL or a Fuji Rangefinder. The greatest challenge is in making sure the light intensity and direction are similar in each of these shots.
The process of creating a photomontage may take a month or more, depending upon how quickly I am able to get all the shots and sort through them, selecting the ones which work best together. “Pieces” of the final image may include the landscape or background, often shot in sections, as well as the sky, a human figure, an animal, or another object. The processed film is scanned at a high resolution, approximately 80 megabytes per frame. Then, I use Photoshop software with a Macintosh computer to combine each “piece”, thus creating the final image. Lastly, the photomontage is printed with archival pigment inks on cotton rag paper.
Poet Rives does 8 minutes of lyrical origami, folding history into a series of coincidences surrounding that most surreal of hours, 4 o’clock in the morning.
I am interested in a kind of “entropic” image, an image that has the capacity to defamiliarize itself. My current work is an attempt to unravel the photograph and play with established notions of time, space, and the understanding of what gives things context. Through fragmentation and recomposition of the photographic space, the non-linear nature of reading the image is folded in on itself. The structure of the photograph is unwound and reshuffled. This reshaping becomes an iterative process that spurs the generation of something altogether different. Something ineffable. Jim Kazanjian