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Todd Gardner

Official Website: Portfolio

Artist Statement

The human body is an expression of the spirit. Nature is an expression of the earth’s spirit. These two elements, the human form and the natural environment and their relationship to each other are the subject of my explorations.

I begin with various journeys to National and State Parks around the United States, searching for vistas grand and minute which are devoid of man-made influences. Recent trips include Zion, Bryce Canyon, Grand Canyon, Sequoia, Kings Canyon, Death Valley, Olympic, Hawaii Volcanoes and Shenandoah National Parks. Shooting the nude in natural light, outdoors with black and white film, allows me to simplify forms while keeping consistent with my desire to eliminate the artificial. The monochromatic nature of black and white photography unifies the disparate elements of figure and landscape by eliminating the dominant color relationships. This frees the viewer to focus on the fundamental ingredients of shape and contrast.

I often revisit these Parks at different times over a period of a few years searching for different combinations of light, form and texture. The work from these expeditions comprise my photographic sketchbook; a starting point for further experimentation.

Returning to my studio, I scan the negatives into my computer converting all the imagery into digital form which I can manipulate, reconstruct or composite electronically. The completed files are either translated back into a traditional film negative for darkroom printing via a silver gelatin process or are printed directly onto watercolor paper using a high quality digital printing process resulting in a giclee´print.

I am using digital technology to create imagery which depicts organic forms. This contradictory process reflects our human predicament as we enter a new millennium. In this complex, rapidly evolving information age, I am seeking a visual resting place. The natural landscape has a calming effect on the psyche. It provides us with a much needed respite from our often stressful daily existence. It provides us a comforting place in which to think. Spending time in wilderness areas allows us to locate a quieter place within ourselves. Nature reminds us where our true origins as a species lie. Despite our efforts to deny it, our bodies are products of these natural origins. Our spirits long to re-establish contact with the powerful forces which gave birth to us. I seek to make imagery that reminds us of our natural connections; our human nature.