Photography assists my seeing, remembering and understanding, but in pursuit of the most visually captivating photographs I sometimes miss the basic truths in the landscape. I’ve photographed the swamps and bayous of the Atchafalaya Basin since 2014 with a desire to capture the cypress trees. I often find trees on the edge of open water, photographing them against the clear sky with no nearby obstructions. The approach isolates a single tree and reveals their expressive shape but hides the proximity of the shoreline, and the often congested truth of the cypress forests.
Photographers often say that, if you think you see a photograph in front of you, look behind you. The adage encourages photographers to keep their eyes open to less obvious scenes that may escape even the well-trained eye.
During the fall of 2019, I returned to Lake Fausse, a place I’ve photographed countless times. I wanted to make photographs that expanded beyond my first visual instincts. After making an open sky image, I received this “look behind you” advice from my assistant Alex. I saw the scene depicted in Medearis an expressive tree gesturing against the dark shoreline with the highlights of the moon streaking behind the moss-covered branches. My close proximity to the tree forced an upward perspective, producing the sensation of passing close beneath a cypress by boat--a nod to my means of navigating the swamps.