Changing Vistas, Captured and Frozen Through a Photographer's Lens
Daniel Jones, the focus of a show at the Tulla Booth Gallery in Sag Harbor, has been taking pictures on Long Island for most of his life. The Southold photographer varies from literal to abstract renderings of seascapes for the most part, and likes to return to the same vistas over and over again to plot the subtle and dramatic changes in atmosphere.
At sites like Flying Point or Cooper’s Beach in Southampton, he might take a straightforward landscape photo that has an abstract quality or actually move the camera to create a blurry effect. He uses large-format cameras but works digitally. He does not, however, modify them on the computer, preferring the images as they were originally taken.
As much as we witness the same landscapes every day, he reminds us that small changes in cloud cover, different times of day, currents and tides, and wave heights can all alter the vista in seemingly infinite ways. All he has to do is show up with his camera and let his eye and nature do the rest.
The large-format images capture great detail when they are in focus and direct, taking on an almost hyper-real quality.
His abstractions remind us that much of our world is visually organized horizontally. When a photo of vertical bands is presented, it seems like some manipulation, maybe made by the movement of the camera up and down, rather than side to side. Instead it turns out that the image in purples and greens is of tall iris stalks.
A simple old rowboat, painted white and red on the exterior and blue on the interior, is another subject the artist returns to with regularity. In a version called “Fogged In,” the haze that gathers at the horizon makes the setting look abstract, but it is the mist that does the work for him. At the same time, a halo of blue and the faint suggestion of clouds hint at a clearer dawn just past the mooring.
While Mr. Jones’s color photographs are predominantly abstract or abstracted, his black-and-white photos are clear and crisp. In still harbors, he is drawn to the compositional possibilities of ferry pilings and other structures and appurtenances in the water. On the ocean, the focus is waves, big and messy. On the beach itself, the crisscross of storm fences and the patterns they make are a recurring theme. He also is drawn to the way wind and water sculpt sand into various topographical terrains.
Sometimes it is a simple view of a building, like the Cedar Point Lighthouse and its stark presence in the landscape, that attracts his attention. But he photographs views of New York City and architectural studies as well.
Ms. Booth’s gallery has a good mix of all of these genres, and they can be seen through Jan. 30.