Duration 25 installed (2017)


This body of photographs began in 2016 of its own volition. For me, it's both the fruit of a long-standing meditation practice and a tool for further discovery. Though in some ways, Duration is a new beginning, it rests on all that came before. Each image in this series is made by repeatedly photographing the same scene with a hand-held camera over a certain period of time. The individual 4.5 x 6 inch (11.5 cm x 15.25 cm) frames are then assembled, in the order in which they were made, into a unified horizontal picture.

The small images that make up the finished overall piece are read chronologically from top to bottom of each column, and moving from left to right across the larger composition. Under the best circumstances, these pictures are intended to be seen as large-scale paper prints, mounted horizontally on a wall without glazing or framing. One can step back and see the overall process; or get closer and see the rhythm of change; or move up very close to study the minute details that make up a single moment.

I've explored time in various ways for years, but subject matter was always a central priority: photography remained a window. That was my training, and the way I understood what I was doing. I split my effort between documenting what presented itself (the real), and scenes constructed to be photographed (fictions). Duration is a departure for me: the scale, the technique and the intent are all new. What drives me now, what delights and frustrates me, is witnessing the unspooling evidence of change in actual space and time. So ubiquitous, and so much variation! Over and over, I observe a particular scene as it becomes something else. This is not work for the impatient—it can't be slowed down or rushed.

Duration is an ongoing hypothesis, an investigation, a set of questions asked over and over in different conditions. Is change predictable or linear? Does it really fit into the narratives we impose, as we try to cope with constant revision? Is it possible to simply stay with something without hanging onto it or pushing it away, or forcing it into a particular shape?

Under the right conditions, with a relaxed patience and persistence, my eyes and hands learn to photograph without comment. Time passes, nature takes its course. The resulting visual residue is often filled with wonder, like any other form of what's true.

From “Wonders”, by Wendell Berry

Unexpected wonders happen /not on schedule /or when you expect or /want them to happen /but if you keep hanging around /they do happen.