06 Dec

As beginner photographer, I had no interest in landscape photography. When I started, photography was about exploring ways to express myself, to talk to myself silently and out loud. I used to walk around with a cheap $20 film camera, looking for means to understand and explain myself, like a psychotherapy treatment. I was 17 at the time, or at least this is what I remember.  After three years of studying art, in addition to painting, photography had become my tool of self-expression.  A year or two later something happened. I do not remember what the trigger was, but suddenly landscape and nature photography had become a substantial part of my work. I was still working many hours in the studio, but photos of ‘beautiful landscape’ had sneaked into my art, especially during my days-long trips to the wilderness. It took me nearly fifteen years before I broke away from nature photography, and it had stopped being part of me.

It was sometimes in my forties when I lost interest in nature photography – well, at least in the ‘beautiful’ side of it. For a few more years I kept doing it as a trade, for the money, but it meant nothing to me. Until one day, while travelling in the desert, I could not stand it anymore. I found myself looking for a way to destroy nature photographs. So much I hate it. I still loved to spend time in nature – the desert in particular – greatly enjoying the scenery and the atmosphere. It was only the need to take postcard-like photos that I had lost and never regained.

This project lasted for over two years during my nature trips, mainly in the desert where I can easily find desolated places without obvious elements to interfere with my photos, allowing me to leave the main object disconnected from the rest of the image.  It was this search that directed me, pulling me to continue my work throughout this long period. Sometimes it would be over a month between two photos. The entire time I kept looking for something beautiful I could destroy. Instead of capturing the beauty of nature, I strove to find the strength of the materials of a rock or a tree and describe the essence of my photo, and that I could later turn into drawings.  Something so simple that forces the viewer to enjoy the beauty of a minimalist image, like the work of Mattise.  All my photos were taken in spectacular spots, which I deliberately hid from the viewer, hiding them by the strong light, like standing in the middle of a summer day under the desert sun without sunglasses, when the sun burns your eyes, letting you see only the blurred of the main objects.  To reach such burning of the photo, I used a tripod that allowed me to take exceptionally long exposures.

In these photos I do not want the viewer to suffer from a destroyed landscape or nature (although this is exactly what I did). Instead, I want the viewer to see nature again with fresh eyes. The viewer already knows how to enjoy a beautiful photo of nature. He does not need me for that. I want to viewer to find something comforting, an inner peace, enjoying the simple lines that make the objects of nature: the rock, the tree. Like a quick sketch of a nature painter, I turned my nature photographs into abstract drawings, only hinting on what should be in the picture, so the viewer can understand and enjoy nature without details, like understanding a drawing from a few lines only.  To some degree I feel that after years away from drawing, I am drawing again, only that this time I do it with a camera. Maybe this is what connects me back to the painting I studied as an art student over twenty years ago.  This series of imaging are my new drawings. They are white nature, comforting, calming, clean.

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