"Shakkei - Borrowed Scenery"
In Japanese gardening there is an interesting concept called shakkei which literally means "borrowed scenery". Distant views and landscapes are incorporated into the ambience of the garden through a careful placement of trees, water and rock. The harmonious framing of the outside scene within the garden, the microcosm within the macrocosm, embraces the very essence of photography . A composition is borrowed in the sense that it is a reflection of the world, integrating the duality of an external and internal vision. Photography is essentially the organized framing of time and space into borrowed scenes cultivated by the artist.
The camera records an image through mechanical reproduction and by its very nature can only imitate the visual perception of external reality. My goal as an artist is to transform the mimetic image into a visually poetic form through a process of experimentation. For this series of photographs I work with a modified digital camera which exposes only the invisible near infra-red wavelength of the electromagnetic spectrum of energy. I then apply extensive adjustments to the original exposure to achieve the final photo "drawing". A term borrowed from the great William Henry Fox Talbot, an early 19th century photographer and inventor of the salted paper print, who in 1844 used the term "photogenic drawings" to describe his discovery in his book "The Pencil Of Nature". Talbot, an artist and scientist, was a seminal figure in the development of the "photographic art". His experimentation and aesthetic sensibilities have influenced and informed my artistic practice. I pay homage to the past with eyes focused on the future. I am currently testing the possibility of laser etching my work onto marble, glass and wood. With the potential for using the wood etching as a printing block.
All of the photographs in this portfolio were taken in the Arboretum of the Central Experimental Farm in Ottawa. The Arboretum is a Canadian national historic and cultural heritage site that covers twenty six hectares within the city. Many tree specimens, imported from across the world and Canada, were planted in 1889 and represent some of the largest and oldest in the country. This diverse landscape is for me both a sanctuary and creative research centre. A space I use on a regular basis to make art, practice taiji and meditate. The ambience of this garden resonates strongly with my creative vision and reaffirms my belief that the preservation of our natural environment is fundamental to a healthy and sustained existence for this planet.
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