Artist's Statement, 2011

In April of 2009, the last manufacturer of large format film to supply it in a manner convenient to shooting in the field stopped making it altogether. There’s no more left to be had in the world. I’ve 350 sheets on hand, due to expire late in 2012. I’ve long known that my days as a large format field photographer were numbered and now know what that number is.

The cultural history of the Superior basin is marked by periods of ‘boom and bust’ for at least the last 130 years. First considered a wasteland, then a repository of “inexhaustible” natural resource, this wild and magnificent land has been visited by prosperity followed by poverty, followed by renewed potential ending too often in despair. Through each cycle the wildness of the place has persevered and a hearty, resolute people have remained.

Once again, times are hard. What some call “The Great Recession” is instead no less than a Depression across much of the region. And once again, promises of prosperity are made -- promises strikingly similar to those made repeatedly since the 1880s.

Beginning in September 2011 and planned to continue through autumn of 2012, I’ll engage a personal and aesthetic Odyssey across the Lake Superior basin, centered mostly along its southern reaches in the wilds of Michigan. On this journey I’ll gladly spend the last of the film that has for generations been the standard for excellence in image capture. For one final sojourn I’ll throw it all on my rapidly aging back and step out into the field in my search for history, for beauty and for contemporary truths, whatever those might prove to be.

But I’ll be content to return with art, because art is perfect light to nourish truth that transcends contemporary concern. And it lasts, for future generations to make of it what they will.