I returned to photograph my favorite field today - don't know why I love it so much...but I do. It's in the middle of nowhere...in-between two places that are kinda in the middle of nowhere themselves. Over the years I've gotten a lot of great images out of this field, but today I returned just because it makes me happy. There's the smell of it - across the road there's a cow pasture - but these are cows that get about 50 acres to roam, so it's not so bad - just a touch of cow. But the rest of the smell comes from the grasses and the land itself.
I love the grasses and it was fun to shoot without worrying or thinking about meaning. There was no reason to take the images...no big project I'm going to do when I'm done with them...don't know that anyone would ever buy them. They were taken just because I love the space...the openness of it...waiting for truckers to pass (most of whom will wave or smile as they go by).
Right now, the trees still have their leaves...there's this amazing breeze that comes through...and this beautiful sound of the leaves rustling on the branches. I tiptoe my way past the "no trespassing" sign and walk down the service road, which is lined on both sides with wild raspberry brambles that have overgrown and are reaching out to close up the road if they get the chance. There's such a peacefulness here, the grasses have this subtle color, shape and texture. I love how the light shimmers through - it's cloudy today - supposed to rain tomorrow - so the plan is to come back and shoot in the rain. Shooting in the rain is interesting because most people won't, so your images look slightly different.
There's something about returning to a place you find nourishing...and I can honestly say that, even though I recently sold an image I shot on this road - that's not why I come back to shoot. I return because this space is just a great place to play around in. This time of year the grass has grown up and there's cattails, culverts, bee hives, bugs, small snakes (and probably some big ones) and even little flowers coming up. It's not quite winter - just becoming fall - it was a hot, hot summer, so the grass really went crazy and you can tell the ground is so rich. There's this stand of trees on the road and behind them a field with a row of telephone poles that disappear into the distance. The row of trees are flat and form the two-dimensional plane they will eventually exist on (in the print) and peeking through them gives one a sense of openness and movement.
If you can find a place that nourishes you and allows you to have a dialog with it, then you've found what I think most artists are looking for...maybe that's even what people are looking for when they buy art. Often, as teachers, we'll ask a student "what are you trying to do here, what are you trying to say?" Maybe the question should be "what hunger are you trying to feed, what need are you trying to meet?" I think art has to have a purpose and I suppose that would be the difference between pretty and beautiful. Pretty is decorative, but beauty really nourishes. It's more than just about looking - you can almost feel your eyes "feeding."
So, on this day, I took pictures for no other reason than the pure joy of being in the space - just to say "I was here and this is what it looked like"...or "I was here and this is what nourished me."