Assignment 9 • Narrative Project for Undergraduates
I knew I wanted to do a series of landscapes for my final project. Despite that conviction, I had a number of false starts. I spent a sunny day in the woods and didn't get a single shot I liked. Then I photographed a gorgeous sunset at a lakeside, and somehow I made it look bad. I started to panic.
Ironically, it was a miserable cold day with a forecast of rain when everything came together. I trekked up to a patch of conservation land on a hilltop, where I have never seen another person walking. It's not a large or remarkable area, but it turned out to be a goldmine for me on this day. The land consists of forest, and a broad overgrown meadow that is in the process of being reclaimed by the forest. I think this transitional quality is what made the meadow so visually rich. There were grasses, vines, wildflowers, and saplings, in great variety. Land that is covered in mature forest, on the other hand, is usually more homogenous. The gray sky, far from being a hindrance, provided a harmonious glow that accentuated the colors, and lent a stark poetry to the scene.
I am going to sound like Obama, but I think the theme of this series is hope and change. The way the forces of nature are shooting up their vines and retaking the land: to me, this represents the ability of land to heal and rewild itself. In addition, the colors that are glowing so intensely in the face of a menacing day and oncoming winter: to me this also represents fortitude and hope, like an ember that hasn't gone out.
The lessons I will take from this project are, first of all, to embrace terrible weather! And to not despair. All the elements will come together if you keep taking off your lens cap.
Copyright © 2022 Jesse Glendon Tillers