"mi ritrovai per una selva oscura"   

                                  - Inferno I.2

This project began as a way of thinking about the range of our imaginations of the 'dark wood':  from Dante's metaphor of the woods as a wild, threatening place, where you can not only become lost but can lose your self, to the Romantic sense of the forest as an almost sacred place where you can recover a true self, free from the corruptions of 'civilized' life.  

But we know from recent neuroscience (and Buddhism) that there is no true self, only a momentary construction that shifts constantly into new forms, while we cling to an illusion of continuity and unity.  And the same is true of the world we construct 'outside' the self.  In these images I want to investigate the range and manner of our imaginal constructions of the 'dark wood,' and thereby evoke alternative ways of seeing.  

I've limited the project to pine forests, in part because the straight trunks and spiky branches offer a challenge, but also because they are plentiful where I live.  And I've limited it to images from within the forest in order to stay close to Dante's image of immersion, though the camera itself inevitably conjures an external point of view.           

The title foregrounds the sense that, however one views the forest, it is always an emotional seeing, always an expression of longing.

“Between every two pines is a doorway to a new world.”

                                                                                           - John Muir

Powered by SmugMug Owner Log In