I thought I would post descriptions and information of each of my five diptychs that curator Paula Tognarelli picked to put in the Fresh Works show on view June 2-5, 2011 at the Flash Forward Festival Boston.
Burnt Blueberry Field, Radar Road, Sedgwick, Maine, MMVIII
The Radar Road blueberry fields in Sedgwick, Maine are among my favorite places in all the world. Carpeted with the low-bush, wild blueberry plants native to the northern parts of the US and Canada, with small patches of other plants, these fields explode with life. The plants change during the growing season, from the blossoms of spring to the concentrated blue-black fruit ripening in August to the reddening leaves of autumn. But these fields would rapidly go to shrubs and trees in climactic succession without the intervention of humans, who value blueberries above a forest. To keep unwanted plants at bay, the common practice in Maine is to burn the fields every few years, usually after harvest. This kills off many susceptible weeds, but not the blueberry plants, whose roots tolerate the heat and then grow again the next year.
I shot this diptych one cool spring the year after this particular field was burned. While the ground was still blackened with soot, the new blueberry plant growth was quite red, while ferns and grasses that also survived the previous fall’s burning sprang forth in green. While this appears surreal, it is actually a faithful recoding to film of what was there. No digital manipulation is done to my prints of this scene, I only adjust the brightness of the sky buy burning the upper part of the image to get the clouds to show up on the paper.