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2021 SPE Annual Conference: Imagining Legacy: Archives, Collections, and Memoria

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Paul Rider

SPE Member since 2018
Member Chapter: Mid-Atlantic

Drawn to the Light

A visual meditation on America finding it's way out of the political and moral darkness of the last years and moving towards the light.

Today, perhaps more than ever, the world yearns for some much needed calm and civility. Geo political tensions color our everyday reality and the ongoing clash of cultures between the Western and Eastern worlds sadly often escalates into violence. These images represent my response to the ongoing global anxiety and a desire to move towards a resolution in which calm prevails.

The images in this series are abstract still life's shot in a similar style to aerial topographic photography. They represent the arid desert landscape of the Middle East, the area of the world where the conflict is centered. The grand landscape tradition of American Western photography, Edward Weston's dune images for example, are another influence for this body of work. But my landscapes are created inside the studio with paper molded into various forms, torn and ragged in places, becoming a maze of sorts, like the sands of the dunes and their ever changing shapes and shifting exits. Ideally, the images will inspire a contemplative mood and yet still make the viewer aware of the tension, the jagged edges, of our current reality. While some may see the darkness, others the calmness and still others the ragged tension, above all, what remains is the quiet, regal beauty of our world.

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