Michael Marten – Sea Change

Michael Marten_Grain_Kent

Grain, Kent – Michael Marten

Sea Change – by Michael Marten – on view at Blue Sky Gallery here in Portland –

I think because I grew up in the cornfields of the Midwest – the views offered by Marten of seaside edges at various tides – low and high in close comparison  – are for me quite interesting and somewhat foreign.   Of course I’ve visited various shorelines along the way, but there is something important about spending enough time in one place in order to see the influences of the natural environment (or manmade for that matter) on the shape of the landscape. Perhaps it is an issue of slowing down enough to internalize it in a way – to come back time and again is the key.  One can do this in any number of places of course at different time scales, but the regular contrast and steady rhythm of high/low tides is a wonderful opportunity to do so in a predictable way.

Michael Marten_ Bedruthan Steps_Cornwall

From Marten’s statement:

“… Natural processes have lit, watered and shaped the world since time immemorial. Paying attention to their rhythms and effects may help us to reconnect to the fundamentals of the planet, which we ignore at our peril…”

Indeed.  All it takes is to be reminded in a serious way – how quickly you can be come isolated – at the mercy of nature’s way.  Perhaps that is the element missing for me in these pictures which are striking on their own terms – but for me an element of risk would be an interesting additional dimension in the series…. I like the series though – it is a good start on any number of possible ways to look at our world around us.

More of Marten’s work here on his website.

The Arctic – Time Change – Gautier Deblonde

From the series Arctic by Gautier Deblonde

I came across the work of Gautier Deblonde by way of Granta 101 in a photographic essay: “The Arctic”.    (The series “Voyage to Spitsbergen” can be seen on the site – nbpictures – and it is worth checking out…)The photographs in the series (Arctic) are meant to “serve as a reminder to people that our climate is changing, and that without a doubt it will affect them personally and profoundly, wherever they live. “

From the series Artic by Gautier Deblonde

From the series Arctic by Gautier Deblonde

I appreciate the sense of time in the photographs above. Why would one live up above the Arctic Circle these days – except in search of something – Oil? Natural Gas? – Scientists studying the ice? What has happened to this train?  Why is it here – and abandoned in this way – this place called the Spitsbergen ?  Near to the summer solstice as we are right now… with our sunrise / sunsets so early and late – seemingly – I’m trying hard to imagine what it must feel like to be in perpetual daylight for some 2 months straight in “Midsummer” – or the opposite – darkness in “Midwinter”…

How attuned to the natural rhythms of the day are we anymore?