the Beachcombing series

41 images Created 17 Nov 2013

I live on an island off the coast of Maine, and I mess around on the shore all year round. For 15 years I have explored and studied the shoreline – the intertidal zone - and researched the flora, fauna, ecosystem dynamics and marine debris that I encounter. The Beachcombing series is a set of still life photographs of things I pick up along the shoreline, photographed on an oversized light table in my studio. Each photo in the series documents the things I found on a particular shore on a particular day: the title of each photo is the name of the beach and the date on which I found those objects.

These photographs are part of my methodology for studying the things I find and teasing apart the layers of natural history and human occupation on the shoreline. It is important to me to identify them as specifically as possible - not just plants and animals, but rocks and marine debris. Over the years I’ve become more and more concerned with plastic trash and its effect on ocean ecosystems, and I give it the same attention as other occupants of the shore. I've also noticed systemic changes associated with climate change - the warming water of the Gulf of Maine, invasive species on land and sea, unpredictable weather patterns. The still life process is a method of articulating my curiosity about the things I find, making a record of them, and documenting my growing understanding of the intertidal zone.

As my familiarity with marine creatures, tides, geology, and wind patterns has grown, I find the compositions breaking out of the simple grids I began with and becoming more elaborate. Some of the recent ones are positively baroque.
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