Water covers nearly 71% of the Earth’s surface and the human body is approximately 60% water. Water is essential for all known forms of life. It is one of the four classical elements and is widely regarded as the basic substance of the universe. It is a symbol of purification in literature and in most religions. Water is indeed the life’s blood of the Earth.
The Susquehanna Simpatico Collection began simply enough as experimentations with long exposures of flowing water. Virtually all of the water abstractions were captured at a single location underneath the Route 30 bridge on the Wrightsville, York County side of the Susquehanna River.
After showing a large selection of the water motion abstractions to an online community of fellow photographers, it was suggested that the series might benefit from the addition of other river related subject matter and details. I had already captured numerous images in the same and other locations but had not thought of them as part of the series. As I began to review images, it was apparent that I had the material but somehow the images, as “straight” photographs, just did not fit the same aesthetic, the same feel.
For a long time I had been playing with various painting effect filters in Photoshop and knew that tools and techniques existed for more focused and less automated digital painting on blank “canvas” as well as on existing photographs. Could there be a better time to dive in and explore these tools and techniques to bring these Susquehanna subjects and details into the softer, more “painterly” aesthetic inherent in the long exposure motion abstractions of the flowing water?
The wildlife and scenic images of the Susquehanna quickly took shape as I explored various digital painting techniques; and I was able to create the feel I was after to bring them in line with the initial water images.
These experimentations have become meditations not only in an aesthetic / technical sense but also in a more symbolic sense. The images depict not only the life of the Susquehanna River itself but also life, and in some cases death, on the river. The water purifies and sustains. It is timeless and eternal and it connects all things in the cycle of life.
The Susquehanna Simpatico Collection is the result of this long process of experimentation and meditation. It is my hope that you enjoy my view of the Susquehanna and can in some small measure share my affinity to its beauty and take from it a message of conservation and preservation.