DAVID M GYSCEK
This most recent work departs from my earlier work in both its subject and in my approach to it. The work began quite spontaneously and as it has developed, I have allowed it to lead me. Rules have emerged that organize the process and give significance to the decisions I make. At first, however, before it was anything, while spending a lot of time commuting in my car, I found myself compelled to pull out my iPhone and shoot the scenes in front of me as the landscape sped past. I would shoot as quickly as my camera-phone would allow (while safely staying in my lane and maintaining my speed), capturing a series of images, separated by fractions of a second. My goal was simple: to return to those images in moments of stillness to appreciate whatever detail of the landscape or whatever scene compelled me to document it in the first place. In those moments of stillness and reflection, interesting phenomena and ideas emerged. First, there were moments when the iPhone would focus on the windshield revealing a blurry, painterly landscape with strange details of dirt and dust crisply in focus on the surface of the windshield. At other times, often when the windshield was cleaner, the camera would focus beyond it, into the landscape. Seeing these sequential images change and alternate from one moment to the next, I started to find the human-made aspects of the landscape in the crisply focused images to be problematic and incongruous with my experience of the actual landscape. I realized that we often imagine those parts out and see only what we want to see when we pass through the world mediated only by our senses. This is much more difficult to do with a medium as visually generous and complete as photography. And so I began to paint out all of the cars, roads, signs, mile markers, overpasses, etc. to reveal the landscape itself by hiding, quite obviously, the interventions of humans. The result is landscape images, presented serially. The images alternate between unedited and out of focus landscapes and crisply focused landscapes with monochromatic paint, masking the human constructions found within the roadside scenes. I do not presume to mimic human experience of the landscape in this work, but rather to point out the disconnection between that experience and the photographic depiction of it.
Habits of Seeing