Ecologies of the Invisible

Ecologies of the Invisible

Night photos from my backyard, tracking the ecologies and actions of wild deer as a meditation on the unseen. Each grouping consists of infrared multi-composite digital photography. The above images is a large (30″ x 50″) grouping showing all 260 images from 2020, whereas the slideshow here shows smaller sets: 

If you’d like to read a little bit more about the series, here is my brief artist’s statement: 

Ecologies of the Invisible, 2020

Visible light is a tiny fraction of a far larger continuum of electromagnetic radiation. As such, what we see is never the whole picture — much more exists. This creates a puzzle for the visual artist: how might we consider the invisible, making images about what we cannot see but know to exist?

This series was made with infrared cameras, that employ light that we cannot see, adding to the concepts of invisibility versus visibility. Contrary to crisply focused, saturated wildlife photography, the images are noisy, often unfocused, and full of unseen moments, thus redefining wildlife photography.

The compositions are based in classical multiple image formats found in traditions of painting, and commonly today in graphic novels and websites. Such groupings imply narratives, getting at our core human desire to construct stories. I’ve detuned the compositions away from the classical toward improvisation. This touch of randomness and selection reflects contemporary understandings of the roles of unpredictability in our lives. I’ve calmed that unsettling sense by sepia toning the imagery, which reflects my own feeling that the recurring night is also full of comforting moments. Every once in a while an emptiness occurs, leaving behind blank dark segments— perhaps these bits of missing data are moments of a deeper kind of invisibility? 

For me this series makes larger ecologies more obvious. If one were to overlay the deer’s pathways with our own human trails, we would find a few rare moments of overlap. By amplifying them, I’ve been able to witness twin fawns growing to adulthood, withered and ill deer faltering and sometimes regaining strength, young bucks growing their antlers. The artistry of this series reminds me that the world’s immense diversity overlaps and overwhelms that small portion of it that is our own experience. The imagery helps me consider how we participate within much larger ecologies. 

This series is a continuation of my earlier Midnight Deer project. 🙂