December 9, 2009

A Walk in the Woods: Human Trace, a Sugar House

In recent weeks I've taken a few series of photographs that I haven't had a chance to post. I hope you don't mind that I'm presenting these images when the site is now covered with snow.

At a turn in the path through the woods is a small wooden structure, collapsing more each year, becoming each year more a part of the landscape. I believe it was a sugar house, a shed used to boil maple sap in the spring, distilling it into syrup. When I looked closely at the building, I was struck by the beauty of the sheet metal, aged into a rich palette of naturalistic colors.

These photographs, in their simple abstraction, reminded me of the work of many of the photographers associated with the Institute of Design in Chicago, a school established in 1937 by Laszlo Moholy-Nagy as the New Bauhaus. I admire the work of Aaron Siskind, Harry Callahan, Arthur Siegel and others associated with the school. They helped move photography into the stream of modernism, and away from documentary and journalism. I hope to write a post on this group of artists in the near future, since their work was a strong influence on my photographic work.

1 comment:

  1. Arthur Siegel's daughter, Julie, is a landscape designer in Chicago and a good friend. She blogs at