Last Woods

The day before the mass People's Climate March took place in New York in September, photos from my Last Woods and de-composition series were included in a benefit concert for the March. Here's part of a statement I was asked to write about the work: 

There’s a sense of melancholy that comes now with visiting the woods. A conflict between experiencing the grandeur and wonder of the trees and plants and animals—the mind and body’s intuition of the life around you, unfolding without regard to you—and the awareness of how much these places and these lives within them are changing and may ultimately be lost from the climate catastrophe that’s upon us. You encounter their presence and their ghosts from the future at the same time. Everything has an aspect of being haunted about it. No visit to the woods is neutral or simply personal, purely about one’s own pleasure, any longer. The pleasure remains still, but it’s a pleasure alloyed. It’s something like holding a breath, knowing you have to let it go at some point.

This awareness of loss and sense of melancholy are at the heart of my series, Last Woods, which are photos taken during extended, often solitary, walks through the woods and forested areas of the Northeastern U.S. I’ve been working on them on and off since 2009 and they’ve been seen in group shows in galleries around New York. I see them as portraits of the incremental, intimate process of decay taking place in a specific spot—the most basic process of life, of leaves returning to soil—while echoing the larger loss and decay of the woods as a whole. Altogether, the series serves as a form of witness and documentation, capturing a bit of life at ground level before these areas, their diversity and complexity are altered or diminished or, even, disappear.

 Last Woods 16

Last Woods 16