“What artist, so noble, has often been my thought, as he who, with far-reaching conception of beauty and designing power, sketches the outlines, writes the colours, and directs the shadows of a picture, so great that Nature shall be employed upon it for generationsâ€¦” ~ Frederick Law Olmsted, 1852
We set out to fool ourselves that we are in the countryâ€”that we are experiencing an â€œuntamed wildernessâ€. Yet around the corner, just over the rise, lie hints of the outside world. Concrete. Highways. Cars. Steel and glass buildings. The landscapes of the city, of urban and industrialized development.
Inside the urban environs, we can’t get away from the hand of man. There is always evidence of the human hand, whether people through the trees, structures intended to tame and make the landscape safe or even marring by graffiti and destruction.
The park is a planned experience, regardless of how wild it feels. The paths are planned, the hills may be as well and often the woods are crafted with just enough freedom to feel as if you are away, in the wilderness, without having to actually experience the danger of the real wild.
Occasionally, you can get lost in the woods and feel that excitement of what is just around the bend, just over the next hill, just through the break in the trees.
This series of images explores the relationship of wildness and the planned nature of the park experience and the hand of man, even in the seemingly pristine landscape.
All images are photographed with a vintage Rolleiflex on 120mm black and white film, and hand-printed in Palladium in a limited edition of 5 with 3 artist proofs.
Image size: 4″x4″
Installation images from solo show at Lightbox Photographic Gallery in Astoria Oregon. July 2013