Carbon

Carbon is inspired by rivers that flow through landscapes once filled with giant timber. Primeval, these forests harboring living things aged greater than 2000 years, predominated Pacific Northwest topography less than a century ago. Photographs printed with ash, the remnants of bygone forests, document a river from its mouth to the migration barrier. Carbon captures the now, a forest, seemingly pristine, hiding what progress has extracted.

 

Beginning shortly before the turn of the last century Darius Kinsey, an Eastern transplant, documented the Pacific Northwest's primeval forests and the industry that would conquer them. Equipped with an 11" x 14" Empire State camera, and tripod custom made to capture scenes only revealed when peering above ferns nearing 11 feet, Kinsey produced monumental photographs. These works were exhibited at New York’s Museum of Modern Art in the company of William Henry Jackson, Henry O'Sullivan, and other great landscape photographers of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

 

Like Kinsey, I too migrated West. The Empire State, its Catskill Mountains, and the land of Rip Van Winkle harbor my origin story. Weaned on sugar maples and blueberries, I remain most at ease in the woods. The Pacific Northwest’s temperate rainforests serve as the backdrop for my studio and home, the inspiration for my art. The photographs in Carbon were taken in the footsteps of Kinsey and are produced from the ash of trees found in his images.

 

Forests provide the materials that house much of humanity, and in our harvesting of them, the houses they provide to the creatures with whom we share this planet are lost. Often, not only is the landscape lost forever, so too are its sentient inhabitants. Yet, when viewing the images of Carbon, these forests seem untouched. I wish for one to look into their dark shadows and ask what I would have found hiding where I first to gaze upon them hundreds of years ago? 

 

 

© 2019 By Joseph Rossano