Love being back in the darkroom and working on some of the film I shot over the summer. I notice that I am working at a slower and more deliberate pace than last year, when it was my first time back in the darkroom in many years. Finding a nice sense of balanced focus on producing quality work, rather than just enjoying the excitement and newness of the return to the traditional film experience.
The image above is something I will be working on for several weeks. It is a photograph I took on the Appalachian Trail a couple months ago. Just a rock that caught my eye. A rock at a place that holds enormous significance to me. This spot along the Appalachian Trail is called Bake Oven Knob. It is a well known scenic lookout spot to trail hikers, and it affords gorgeous views of the Lehigh Valley. It is a spot I have visited and camped near for over 30 years. I camped out with friends as a teen. I spent my first solo night in the woods near here. I brought girlfriends here. I got engaged here. I brought my children here and taught them the joys of camping out.I came here in the midst of divorce and re-discovered the power of a night alone in the wilderness.I have continued to re-visit this place as often as possible and never leave it without a sense of rejuvenation and spiritual uplift. I have often said I want my ashes scattered into the wind from this place.
So I want to work on this print with care and diligence and create an art work that will become a symbol of that significance, and a meditative reminder. I spent the entire three hour darkroom session on Tuesday night working with two frames, comparing the slightly different perspectives and details from each, and in the end chose the image above. It was only after tacking a test print on the wall and studying it for awhile that I noticed the profile of a face on the right side. The image I was seeing from memory was a Polaroid portrait I took of my sleeping son a couple years ago. I came home last night with the print and compared the two images and confirmed it. It's uncanny.
I took this photograph purely because of the bold quartz veins that streak through this granite rock in the center of the frame. That is all I saw and focused on. The image of my son... (or me, as symbolic self portrait), was there the whole time. Just as a part of my spirit/soul is always at Bake Oven Knob.