I don't think that there is anything that is really magical unless it has a terrifying quality.
You Americans have never suffered, never felt pain. Everything is Disneyland to Americans.
-Israeli Woman, on a red-eye flight
Energy exists in physical spaces. Locations have personalities. Extreme examples are sites where violent and shocking events have occurred: all who visit them tell of a palpable, disturbing aura. This reality exists in all locations. The Great Swamp in New Jersey has an uncomfortable, foreboding atmosphere. Yosemite is the complete opposite: grand, bright, awe-inspiring, majestic, exultant (shallow?). I’ve often thought, “What could I possibly photograph in Yosemite? Mickey Mouse?”
As a very young child, I delighted in being alone in certain places. Hounded to have more friends, to be social - I wasn’t interested. I preferred solitude and imagination – there’s much more potential there. Today I find a forest just a grown-up playground. I go there and spend hours because it’s a comforting “other world” – with a personality. Silence and “welcoming” exists within any forest. I often think, “I wonder how they’re doing over there today.” But the welcome I seek out isn’t a jolly one. I enjoy forests best when they’re solemn and melancholy.
The Japanese believe that spiritual facets of nature are as tangible as physical ones. Life is fluidity, transience: “The flow of the river is incessant, and yet its water is never the same.” Nature is beautiful, but also dark and disturbing: “Decayed leaves under the ice are the death of people we know. The sunlight hitting the surface of the ice portrays the world of the living.” An entire philosophy exists in this Japanese belief. I’ll paraphrase Shuji Takashina, the art historian: “Spring cherry blossoms and beautiful colors of fall all eventually disappear. In the constant change is beauty that should be adored.”
In fragments, a totality surrounds us. The important is never “surface;” it’s never glaringly before us. There is a universe to see beyond a person’s eyes. Have you glimpsed it? And all the sounds of a lifecycle exist in a rain shower. Do you stop and listen?
And within a forest . . .?
Photographer's Bio: Anthony Guidice graduated from Art College in Columbia, Mo. in 1979, and from RIT with an MFA in Photography in 1981. His MFA thesis was entitled Energy in Physical Spaces. Guidice photographs primarily with 4x5 and 5x7 view cameras, and also with 6x7 cm roll-film cameras. His Defender Photographic company designs and manufactures analog specialties.