This winter has been a strange one, with large dumps of snow and bitter cold followed by warm weather and no snow that turns everything to mush before it dries out. Then, pretty much immediately rinse with a bit of rain and repeat. I know, I know, I know. That sounds a lot like Michigan. But this seems to be Michigan plus the early delight of climate change, with less weather coming from the northwest and more from the southwest.
Winter make me mostly grumpy, particularly with photography, since winter scenes and cold don’t have much appeal for me. But, on a cold sunny day last weekend, I got a few cool images from my backyard.
The bright light and clear skies produced cold temperatures and wonderful shadows in my backyard. As a friend on Facebook said of one of these images, “Beautiful and disturbing. More questions than answers.”
When I processed the images, I leaned heavily into the natural contrasts and pushed them further. The look also adds some grain. You know what you’re looking at. But there’s an un-settling vide nonetheless.
So much of winter in West Michigan is muddy skies and muddy light. Days with bright sun and deep shadows is a rare thing, one to be used. There’s no meta message in these images. I saw the light and shadows and the dappled lines and swirls and shapes on the snow. And made images. Is the unsettlement in “nature” itself, or a product of the human imagination. If the latter, where does is come from. I suppose that if I put a word to it, to nature and to my intent, it’s the “sublime.”
Go back and read some early nineteenth century philosophy, theology, and aesthetics on that.