I recently came across the work of Guy Tal, a photographer and artist working in the US. I was intrigued by his Artist’s Statement and saw some similarities with my own photographic practice in his motivations and approaches to his photographic work:

“In photography I strive to create images that speak to wildness – the quality of being attuned to, and inspired by, the wild. I consider my work to be expressive art, in the sense that its primary purpose is to offer visual metaphors for thoughts and feelings, rather than to document appearances.

 I work primarily in the landscape of my home, the high deserts of the Colorado Plateau. Over a period now spanning more than two decades, these places have become very meaningful to me; and my relationship with some of them has become as complex as any I have had with another human being. Rather than glimpses of the superficial beauty of the land, I wish instead for my work to speak to a deep familiarity with my subjects, revealing something of my reverence for them and the roles they play in my life. The things I photograph are not just attractive models to me; they are also temples and sanctuaries and multi-dimensional characters in my own story, as I am (surely to a lesser degree) in theirs.

 I do not consider myself a photographer who creates art, but rather an artist working in the medium of photography.”

In his Photography Journal he speaks about the landscape and his relationship with it:

“But beyond just visual appeal, the natural landscape inspires emotions in far more diverse and complex ways. Silence, natural sounds, natural scents, natural colors, and natural textures all collaborate to make experiences ranging from simple appreciation of beauty to outright transcendence. It is why, once certain barriers of cognition and skill are overcome, the experience of being in a wild landscape, away from the buzz of the human hives, often leads to elevated, even mystical sensations of being intensely alive.

Such are the things that draw me into the wild and that I hope to express, however inadequately at times, in my work. No image can substitute for a real experience, but in understanding how natural aesthetics may correlate with actuation of certain feelings, even in people who have never experienced wildness before. Such visual cues may be deliberately employed in art as visual metaphors, conveying richer aesthetic experience than merely appreciating the beauty or magnitude of a given scene or object.”

In terms of his photographic work I have gained inspiration from both his colour and black and white images. I looked in particular at his images of trees as inspiration for a potential focus for my Work in Progress Portfolio for Informing Contexts:

Arboreal Sketches – Guy Tal

Arboreal Sketches – Guy Tal

Arboreal Sketches – Guy Tal

I find inspiration in Tal’s ability to focus down on the finest detail whilst still maintaining a sense of his subject.  The sketch-like qualities of his monochrome images are also something I would like to experiment with.  As for his colour images I like the way he isolates interesting patterns and combinations of colour and reflections in water.

Vegetative States – Guy Tal

Vegetative States – Guy Tal

Vegetative States – Guy Tal

I also found his monochrome desert-scape images interesting as I have been struggling to capture some of the scenes from my window in the Isle of Skye albeit seascapes rather than a desert:

Desert Sky Symphony – Guy Tal

Desert Sky Symphony – Guy Tal

Desert Sky Symphony – Guy Tal

I will add some of Tal’s images to my Photographer’s Sketchbook to provide inspiration when I return to The Road to Elgol  to begin my next Work in Progress Portfolio.

References

 TAL, Guy. 2018. Guy Tal Photography Journal – on photography art, wildness and wilderness.

https://guytal.com/wordpress/2018/02/17/the-healing-landscape/

Alison Price

Alison Price

My name is Alison Price and for the past ten years I have travelled the world photographing wildlife, including Alaska, Antarctica, Borneo, Botswana, the Canadian Arctic, Kenya, Rwanda, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
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