Monday, October 02, 2006

Mark Amerika, Nature Photographer (1)

What is the nature of photography?

For me, it's all about the photographer, the "subject position" that experientially remixes their perceptions, their memories, and their proprioceptive affectivity with the world they are always capturing and manipulating for their own philosophical uses. So instead of asking "What is the nature of photography?" maybe we should ask "What is the nature of the beast?"

Over the last few days, this "world" I find myself "capturing and manipulating" for my own philosophical uses has been imbued with the gorgeous seasonal changes that are happening in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. Living in Colorado during the early fall creates a pleasant conflict in the hearts and minds of artists throughout the region: given the fact that there is so much beautiful nature to go out and see, who has time to work?

But there's a lot more to it then that (see below), especially if you designate yourself a nature photographer (that would be like having your cake and eating it too).

Really, this is a serious problem. The last week has proven this fall to be one of the most beautiful seasonal shifts in decades, and this weekend the fall colors are peaking. For example, here are two images I captured over the weekend, right outside my studio:

Images shot within walking distance of
Mark Amerika Nature Photography Studio

As a committed nature photographer, I always have issues resolving this dilemma (of either staying in and working [being productive in the studio] or idly walking through the beautiful parks and trails located right outside the door to my studio).

There is this phrase we use in America where we say "nature's calling" and we usually take that to mean that it's time to go to the bathroom and relieve yourself. But for me, the idea of nature calling is more complicated. When nature is calling me, it's not literally ringing me on my mobile phone ("Hi Mark, this is Nature, where the hell are you? You were supposed to go to the bathroom over an hour ago!"). Rather, this reimagined experience of nature calling is something like me working in my studio listening to music while I manipulate more data on my computer but, out of nowhere, other images are calling, and I find myself in an unresolved, conflicted state of being where I want to go and experience the images. Notice I did not say "the idea of going outside crosses my mind" and that I then feel obliged to go and see the images. No, this is really something else, images as experiences, passing through my body, nudging me to move my body in such a way that it positions my nomadically inclined flux identity to experience a shift in the imagery.

This imagery, though, is not an external other that I have to go out and look at so that it then becomes real while I contemplate it from a distance of my choosing. How can it be? As I just said, this is more about " images as experiences, passing through my body, nudging me to move my body in such a way that it positions my nomadically inclined flux identity to experience a shift in the imagery." That is to say, the imagery is in me, and I am an image too, a digital image processing images, and this act of processing images is part of an simultaneous and continuous performance I am always taking part in so that I can experience new subject positions with(in) the imagery. This imagery is nature, and nature as imagery is my source material (the artist as nature's remixologist? remixological naturalist? Nature's own performance artist?).

In my "other lives" post, I suggested I was, among other things and at various times during the course of a single day, a novelist, a net artist, a film producer, a flaneur, an art historian, a glutton, a theorist, an interdisciplinary performance artist, a professor, and a simpleton blogger. But now I have one more to add: Mark Amerika, nature photographer.


UPDATE: In this regard, you could say that as a VJ artist, processing the imagery I have access to for my live remixes is the nature of my work.

UPDATE II: This email just in from the City of Boulder Open Space Mountain Parks Department:
As of 7:30pm Sunday night, rangers closed the spur trail leading from Lehigh into the Shanahan area. A fresh doe was cached near the trail and the back yards in the area. Rangers will return in the morning with the intent to relocate the carcass to a safer location. Stay tuned.
That's literally across the street from the Mark Amerika Nature Photography studio ...

UPDATE III: Cache moved. Trail to remain closed until tomorrow morning.

UPDATE IV (Oct 3rd): The spur trail leading from Lehigh into the Shanahan area is now OPEN.

Last night rangers found evidence that the mountain lion had found the deer carcass that had been moved from the north side of the trail to the south.

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