Beauty and Order from Chaos


By:john greiner-ferris
Order from Chaos 01
Unframed archival digital print on Hiromi washi paper
Image: 4 x 3"; Finished size 8.5 x 11

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Beauty and Order from Chaos

I began this series in late summer of 2017. I became compulsive and obsessive about shooting images like these. I thought I'd shoot a few more, then move on, but I continued shooting into the winter (and I continue to shoot them to this day.) The first thing I noticed was that, while New England is known for its brilliant fall colors, the woods also turn very silvery. And after much contemplation, I finally came to the conclusion that this project was my attempt to find beauty and order in chaos, which is what I'm seeing so much of in the world right now. These images are supposed to be pretty. In an ugly world, sometimes I feel all I can do is show some beauty that exists. These images are completely unromanticized. They’re not abstracted. They are what they are: color and line and shape and texture and tone and light and shadow. They are not intended for National Geographic or a calendar of images called Backroad Visions. All of the work is done inside the camera. I might adjust the exposure or contrast in Lightroom a tiny bit. Hardly at all. It may be just the calibration of my screen, too, that I'm adjusting. This is my response to all of the heavily edited, Photoshopped images out there. There is natural beauty; it doesn't have to be manufactured. I feel like Jack White hammering nails into a board, tying a wire, adding a pickup, and calling it a guitar.In school we were taught to make the perfect exposure and print. We weren't allowed to use flash. We couldn't even title our images; the work had to stand completely on its own. It's taken me years, so many years, to jettison those constraints from my work, that narrow view of what a photograph is supposed to be, rather than the expansive view of what a photograph can be. And while I do see the reasoning behind teaching such a strict dogma to young artists starting out--teach them the rules but the caveat that there is the explicit intent that once they're graduate art school they are going to break them. Isn't that what artists are supposed to do?


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