Geology is a science it’s like everything else, most things are sciences and art, but it is — mostly it’s a science, and photography is mostly an art, although you know, you can’t just be an artist. You also have to be a scientist as a photographer, and an artist as a geologist perhaps. There was something on the art side that I worked as a geologist, because you’re always trying to peer below the surface. You’re trying to look into the core, a deep, ancient core, an archetypal core, which is the earth.


And my pictures, and my brain was working in the same way, with pictures trying to get below the surface, trying to peer inward and get inside somehow or other. And during the Dorps project, from 82 to 86, I have always told people that was the most important of my projects, because I went inside for the first time physically and maybe metaphorically. From 1982, very rarely do you see a photograph of mine that’s taken outside. Before 82, they were all outside, so I actually went inside and then I found that place, and it just sort of like — I entered the core, I entered the space or entered the place that had been hidden from me. And so it was sort of the same process in a way of peering into the earth and trying to find that jewel, that gem, that core, that orebody, and so there was something about it metaphorically that overlapped.


Looking at rocks, looking at formations, looking at crystals, it’s all very beautiful and very structural, and I became very formalistic during this period. And it’s something that’s always stood by my work. It’s very, very formalistic, very super composed. There’s nothing in my pictures that doesn’t belong there. It’s very interweaved. When you look at the earth and look at the minerals and look at the structures, it’s very sculpted or very formalistic, very complex, but very simple.1 So, there were these aspects, metaphoric aspects that always worked in my mind. It doesn’t help you when you get inside somebodies house to think of a rock formation, what do you do?


So, when all the stuff falls away, then you’re stuck in front of you, what am I going to do here. So, then it’s up to you. The forces of your mind do create what you have to create. And that’s what separates the men from the boys I guess, like standing in front of the canvas trying to figure out what to paint there or having a pencil on a paper and figuring out what to write. Everybody has the same problems as what you do then. The mind is very complicated. It’s hard to know how it works.

  1. Powaqqatsi []
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