What is the Surreal in the Real?

Photography offers artists an opportunity that hand-based plastic art (viz.painting and drawing) does not: photographers can create images that combine the natural world with the mental ones without sacrificing realistic capture. A painter can put a face on a rock, but a photographer must find a face in the rock. 

My mission is to capture an extensive inventory of mental images, images from the unconscious, imaginative images in rock and ice formations. These images tend to exceed conventional versions of figurative subjects. They are more outlandish, more frightening, more seductive, more detailed than the vast majority of painted or drawn images, merely by virtue of their being conveyed through a medium whose essence is texture, and whose shapes are the products of physical forces, unconstrained by a human imagination.

 I have staked out four stages in my journey towards this mission,: Landscape - Abstraction - Figuration - and Fiction. None of these is a new discovery, but the deserts and badlands that I visit to capture such images provide a much richer source of naturally occurring Surreal-tending images than has been collected by my predecessors. Also, there are images that straddle adjacent stages: landscapes that also function as abstract compositions (especially drone captures), abstractions with suggested or "liminal" figuration, figuration that suggests an imaginary world, and finally, closing the circle, landscapes that suggest fictional scenes.

This landing page offers a one or two examples from each category or sub-genre. Then the main galleries exhibit arrays of images from each one of them. By viewing them in order, you can see how the photographic subjects progressively distance themselves from their actual source objects, going deeper into projected mental imagery, that is, deeper into a surrealistic ethos, while never straying from singular photographic capture of the real geological or glacial world. There is no digital process image combining. The Real truly encompasses the Surreal.

What Is the Surreal in the Real?

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