Silk Statement Once again, due to my roots in painting, I have experimented with a way to make photos more painterly – by shooting through a layer of silk fabric. The use of silk over the lens came about quite by accident. I was shooting something and a gray silk scarf I was wearing fell partially across the lens and I liked the effect. It’s kind of that simple. Though of course, it’s not simple in the end. I then experimented with the silk effect at night while shooting my beloved New York trees and enjoyed the results. The silk captured the light and manipulated it in unexpected, lush ways. It was refreshing to me. There’s an additional layer of richness with the silk. And yes, something is both gained and lost in the process of using the silk effect. I appreciate both the sharp images and the softened images. Though on the surface the looks are opposing, in truth their intention is not that different. Like the tree dioramas at night, I’m using a theatrical technique to depict a reality that then appears artificial. Oddly, though the effect of the silk can have overblown romantic associations, I like the way the silk can be reductionist, almost minimalist: it reduces images to form, light, shadow, gradations and color. Details are unimportant here, though at times they poke through with great effect. The emphasis is on overall mood; a mystery emerges and is given form. I know there are associations with Hollywood and romance and the historical past, especially in terms of the history of photography. None of that was conscious when I took these photos. Even memory and “Time” is a part of the dialog in these photos, though that wasn’t the emphasis. But I accept that it’s within these photos. If these images are intentionally romantic at all, it is in the “expression of love” part of romanticism: my love for nature, especially the stalwart nature living in a challenging city. I do like the spotlight effect that is more evident with the silk. It evokes the “Illustrated Bible” look that I was exposed to with a Mormon Illustrated Bible that my Aunt gave to my nonreligious Mother. I didn’t read the words, but somehow the images made an impression on me. Apparently I am still affected by those sweeping images where the artist wanted to communicate great feeling and a connection to God – through the interaction of light and nature. Jesus was always stepping out of clouds painted with “Important Lighting”, to communicate God’s involvement of course. I think some of that sincere intention is within these images, but with a modernist sense of irony – both of which are inextricably a part of contemporary life.