Monday
May302016

About the images

"Specialization is for insects," Robert Heinlein wrote. I agree and have always applied his wisdom to my photography. I will photograph anything that is visually interesting, and this has led to a portfolio that covers a wide range of subjects and styles.

Most of the images in these galleries are self-explanatory. However, I think the Seeing Trees and Visualizing Norse Cosmology collections might bear some explanation.

A few years ago I became interested in the mythology and cosmology of ancient Germanic tribes, my distant ancestors. These tribes include the Jutes, Angles, Saxons, Danes and Norwegians. Scholars know most about the mythology and cosmology of the ancient Norse (culture of the Vikings) and Norse gods and goddesses are familiar to moviegoers today: Odin, Thor, Freya, Loki,Heimdall and their kin.

While Germanic mythology is fascnating, Germanic cosmology really captured my attention. The Northland ancients believed that the universe is a great tree--Yggrasil--whose trunk, roots and branches hold nine distinct worlds of gods, men, giants, dwarves, elves and the dead. They believed that humankind lived on (or in, it isn't quite clear) Yggrasil's trunk.

Intrigued, I started looking more closely at tree trunks and discovered fascinating shapes and features. When my son, who was living in New York City at the time, complained that he lived in a concrete environment and missed the trees of suburban Maryland, I began photographing tree bark and combining the images into the four-panel works in Seeing Trees.

At the same time, I noticed that many features in tree bark resemble terrain features of Earth: mountain ranges, riverbeds, plains, deserts, canyons. That gave me an idea. I began to explore images of Earth taken from space. Thanks to help from folks at NASA's Goddard Spaceflight Center and the NASA Earth Observatory, I was able to access relatively high-resolution images from the latest Landsat Project satellites. I blended these images onto the terrain of the tree bark and the result is my attempt at Visualizing Norse Cosmology.