I've been wandering around with camera in hand in the forested park just outside of my home for over six years now. My wanderings have been in fits and starts. Some weeks I am drawn into these woods daily. Some weeks I practically ignore the quiet insistence of the park and it becomes, as David Abram and others have said, merely the "pleasant backdrop" of nature. Over the years I have engaged in all sorts of photographic adventures: documenting the demise of these evergreen trees with close-up shots of leaves covered in sooty mold or denuded branches; responding to their formal beauty with artful pictorial images; capturing the goings on of the birds at the feeder and the turkeys doing their mating dance.
As I've engaged with the forest in these ways, I have intentionally drawn the camera away from the built environment surrounding this tiny city park, preferring instead to willfully imagine this park as an isolated entity, a vestige of a forgotten time when this whole valley was wild. Inspired by photographers featured on Wilson Cummer's New Landscape Photography site, I have decided to experiment with allowing the human-constructed elements to simply have a presence in these photographs and/or to intentionally engage with them. I'm not sure the following images are great art nor why am I obsessed with wanting to make "great art," but I like their honesty, their matter of factness. And, if I'm going to talk about Gelang photography as a practice of belonging, then I had better acknowledge, respect and engage with all that belongs with this park, all that shapes it as it in turn shapes us, rather than averting my eyes. I have to admit, though, it feels a bit like sneaking a peek into the lives of my neighbors. I feel like the animal hidden in the forest peering out into the human-made world.
Here are some examples from this weak-lighted winter morning.