I grew up on acres of farm and woodland in New Hampshire. There were no other kids around so I would spend a lot of time walking around the woods alone. I liked to believe there were Gnomes hiding in their forest homes and hoped I might have a better chance of seeing one as I was alone. I never did see one, but they kept me company in spirit as I would look for mushrooms and other interesting things in nature.
I recently relocated back to New Hampshire and find myself once again drawn to the woods and the mysteries that lie within. Walking the trails, I started noticing unusual patterns on the fallen trees around me. The more closely I looked it seemed as if the trees were a canvas for miniature painted artworks created by the passing of time and mother nature or maybe even the gnomes. I felt compelled to start photographing them up close and discovered many nuances and endless variations in these artistic creations.
The resulting body of photographs became my current photographic project “What the Gnomes Showed Me”. None of the images are manipulated, composited, or retouched. I did use traditional photographic techniques including basic corrections and dodging and burning specific areas of the images. Sometimes I don’t see all the nuances as I shoot but discover them after during processing. What has stood out to me are the recurrent appearance of eyes, as more than half of the images I have shot have eyes in them. I don’t know what to make of it, but it’s as if someone is looking back at us.
“What the Gnomes Showed Me” is a metaphor for creative imagination. I never know what I will see or photograph in the woods and leave it up to kismet to direct me. There is a sense of freedom, excitement, and the unknown in photographing this way. Bringing these tree vignettes to life as photographs pays permanent homage to these ever changing works of art.