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Photographs of Grasslands Landscapes 2010

My longtime vision of moving out west and living somewhere under very big skies began in 1971 when I left Philadelphia. Circumstances landed me in Vermont and have continued to keep me there. However, over the years I have slowly come to love and appreciate Vermont more and more with every season. I don’t think I’ll ever feel like an East Coast person, but I am very proud to be from Vermont, and fully realize how unique and special it is, even in a worldwide context. I now know how I can balance my life in Vermont with the constant pull I feel toward the west. I need at least one extended visit into that landscape, ideally an exploratory road trip, every year.

In May of 2010, I packed up my Subaru Outback with camping gear, art supplies and camera and headed out on what would be a 5 week, 7,500 mile tour of the grasslands of middle America (see map). My plan was to photograph this landscape to which I have such a powerful attraction. In the beginning, I thought I going to look for pieces and reconstructions of the original prairie, the tiny surviving remnants of what once was, I have read, the largest consistent ecosystem in the world. Research I did in advance regarding prairie preservation sites, helped me plot a path through ten states from Illinois to Texas to North Dakota. As a child, this was the country I road through every hot August with my family going from Michigan to Nebraska and back.

Very early on I realized that what I really was interested in was the entire landscape, the grassland in their entirety. The official prairie sites gave me specific destinations, but it was all of the the agricultural lands, the grazing lands, the small towns, back roads and occasional lone objects that I was exploring, and all of it was subject matter for my photographs. I have divided my photographs into three categories: 1) landscapes (below), the more minimal and abstract the better, 2) objects in the landscape, whose occasional and often sudden appearance made me stop in my tracks and 3) rocks in the landscape, a special class of objects.