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Friday, August 28, 2015

The Dusk Series, Oregon

These images were taken in an Old Growth Forest on the slopes of Oregon’s Coastal Range, near a town called--evocatively if unfortunately this summer--Burnt Woods. Marguerite and I were on a collaborative retreat sponsored by Oregon State’s Spring Creek Project for Ideas, Nature, and the Written Word; we spent two weeks writing, taking pictures, eating marion berries, and drinking Pinot Gris at the Cabin at Shotpouch Creek, which hunkers into a clearing in the forest.

The dusk pictures illustrate the goal of the project’s founder, Franz Dolp, who wanted to bring writers and artists to the forest to help “reimagine the relationship of human beings to the natural world.” The images capture the movement, or adjustment, of mind and imagination when confronted with something beyond itself, bigger than itself. They’re not just representations of what was seen, but of the meeting between seen and imagined--the place where eye meets mind. Or where the human eye meets the nonhuman “other”--in this case, a bloody big forest, at dusk.

For the ancient Celts, dusk was the beginning of the day, a time of possibility and maybe danger. Dusk offered the 24-hour cycle its thinnest space: a moment when different worlds overlapped and became porous.  The Celts understood these worlds to be literal--the known space of human interaction and the less known world of spirits, and the dead. I read dusk metaphorically. In the words of Ciara Healy, who curated an exhibition called “Thin Space” in Wales earlier this year, thin spaces like dusk might be moments when “we are capable of inhabiting more than one world-view at the same time.” And that was Franz’s goal in a nutshell. Enjoy the images. As usual, they're straight digital shots, unmanipulated in any way--I just moved the camera.