By Michael Reichmann
This site has the nameThe Luminous Landscapebecause this form of photograph is my first love. Though the site’s content encompasses almost every aspect of photographic art and technology, the landscape image is where my heart lies.
My friend Tim Wolcott is one of America’s leading landscape photographers as well as an inventor, industry consultant, and pioneer in the area of inkjet printing. Tim asked me to write an essay for his newest book,Along The Water’s Edge, and that essay is included below.
The book was designed by Tim and printed under his direction. The reproduction quality is very high, and in keeping with the very high quality of the images themselves. Tim will be writing about the process of preparing and printing the book in an upcoming essay for this site.
Landscapes are culture before they are nature; constructs of the imagination projected onto wood and water and rock.
– Simon Schama
Landscapes may be found in three separate locations. No, not specific geographic locales, but rather places more ephemeral. The first of course is found in physical reality; the mountains, forests and streams of our planet. The second is the landscape’s existence in our consciousness and culture – the archetypal as well as mental landscapes conjured up by memory and association. The third location is in the representation that artists provide us; ones which take a moment in time and space and solidify it for us to contemplate and enjoy long after the moment is passed and the locale is behind us.
Tim Wolcott is a photographer who has put in the miles and the months exploring his favorite locales and as well as our shared mental landscape, creating photographs which take slices of the four dimensional physical world (including time) and records them for us to consider and enjoy in another when and where.
The beauty that Tim creates comes not from his technical photographic expertise, which is considerable, but more from his offering of a shared cultural appreciation of the landscape – the one that exists in our minds. Snapshots and postcards record the landscape, but it’s only when an artist provides us with insight and passion that the part of the landscape that exists in our minds is overlaid on physical reality and something transcendent results. This book explores the world of water – the rivers, steams, waterfalls and oceans that surround us. Our planet is more than 70% covered in water. By some cosmic coincidence our bodies also are comprised of some 70% water. Water is the universal solvent. Water is where life originated. Water in all its varied forms pervades our lives.
In Along The Water’s Edge Tim shows us the placid waters and gentle cascades of the American Northeast as well as the more rugged canyons and powerful waterfalls of the Southwest. Each of these evokes a different cultural as well as geographic context. The crashing coastal waves evoke another, and the icescapes of Antarctica seem otherworldly and outside of our personal and racial memories. But each image stands on its own. Put simply, Tim’s photographs convey a love of and deep appreciation for the natural world that taps into our longing for peace and beauty – and our sense of wonder.
I invite you to sit back with this book, slowly turn the pages, and discover where each image takes you – not just to the landscape in the photograph, but to the inner landscape of our minds and our shared cultural experience that these images can evoke.
About Tim Wolcott
Tim Wolcott is a master landscape photographer and eco-friendly artist. Owner ofBig Bear Lake Gallery, Wolcott belongs to a tradition of American innovation. His ancestor Alexander Wolcott received the first patent for a camera in America and created the first photography exhibition in 1840 and owned the first studio.
Although as Wolcott describes it, photography is less about technology than about the light that creates the image, Wolcott credits Copenhagen-basedPhase Onewith technical innovations that have permitted him to capture a much wider range of light with beautiful shadow detail and rich white highlights that renders extremely rich colors previously not possible with other camera systems. It’s this combination of shooting styles – mixing the old and the new – that allows him to produce such superior imagery. In the end, he declares, “There are no short cuts. Great photography requires understanding light and composition, vision and patience – simple discipline – simple but never easy.”
Tim pioneered inkjet printing and was a co-inventor of Evercolor, the first environmentally sound and virtually non-fading photo printing process. He has served as head consultant for the Smithsonian and the Library of Congress where his photographs have also been exhibited. To this day no other process has beaten its longevity (250 years with 10% fade). Tim started working with inkjet technology in 1996, trying to make the first pigment inkjet photographs. And in 1995, he helped make the first paper for the process.