Basalt Shards


Basalt Shards

Basalt Shards
East Central Oregon
Matt Niebuhr
West Branch Studio

This photo from a road trip through East Central Oregon has continued to rattle around in my imagination…


Handle with Care…


“Do not lay flat”
Matt Niebuhr
West Branch Studio

Looking through the camera and finding a composition – a readymade – appear right before my eyes is still quite a thrill.  I like to sharpen my visual sense through photography.  Composing, framing, taking notice of those objects filled with potential – seeming to appear in the viewfinder, just waiting to be noticed. This visual hunt is a different task than drawing for me, both of which can sometimes be equally surprising…  The camera and the frame, the opportunity to layer visual information, are welcome constraints.   Drawing, when it comes from a similar understanding of constraint seems to be what I’m most interested in accomplishing.

first day of 2013…


Matt Niebuhr


First day of the new year and already I succumb to the impulse to try and preserve what to me is a perfect example of beauty – this amaryllis. It just seems to be exploding with joy this new day on our window sill. It’s a cliche of / about beauty for sure – who can argue against the inherent beauty of a flower in full bloom,  but then too, why let that stop the impulse?

Agnes Martin remarks in her writings: When a beautiful rose dies, beauty does not die because it is not really in the rose. Beauty is an awareness in the mind.  (Beauty is the Mystery of Life – Agnes Martin)

I think the impulse today was to see if I can make a photograph that can remind me of what I experienced today – that I paused enough to notice…

But, photography is a quick sketch — very different process than drawing – considering light, lens, subject, color and having a sense of what the machine can do – all of this is very much of and about the “world out there” that you and I both have the opportunity to see and touch – though I know that we all see it in a bit different way… there is enough in common that we can relate.

That’s one aspect of what I think is so great about photography.

Happy New Year !

Looking ahead…

I have (maybe purposefully) neglected this journal for sometime now – though I do on occasion find it useful to pull it up and read what was on my mind some years ago…

With this post, I intend to pick up informally jotting down thoughts. I believe new content posted here will concentrate on my own work focused on the photographic image – which at the time I began this blog back in 2005 was primarily what I wanted to learn more about: photography as an art form.

I have spent the last few years (in earnest beginning in 2009) in focusing on my art practice – primarily drawing based. I think that I turned away from my intense focus on photography because I quite frankly felt I had hit a wall so to speak – with where I was taking things – and the frequency with which I was “producing” photographic images. I think the time away is / was good and has allowed me to slow down in thinking and to be more selective… I think I have come to realize better what  my “voice” is with regard to the photographic image I want to make.  So I think that my focus on drawing / artwork – (using the hand / mind / eye) is a good influence on the photographic eye.

I have a few ideas that I had begun but had not really pushed along – so I want to see where it might go and I endeavor to do so in 2013.  Part of this journal will simply be a record of that…

This image is one from a very small series that I think has merit to continue to investigate.


branch, cross section #1 – side A
Taxus brevifolia (Pacific Yew)
Matt Niebuhr

from the series, Sections: Natural Forms

“We might say that there are two sections through the substance of the world: the longitudinal section of painting and the cross-section of certain pieces of graphic art. The longitudinal section seems representational; it somehow contains the objects. The cross-section seems symbolic; it contains signs.” – Walter Benjamin

In the meantime, selections of my all my work continue to reside primarily on my website: with more frequent drawings posted on my tumblr site:

Here’s to the new year.  I’m hopeful.