Artist / Project Statements
My subjects are local, personal, and natural. I closely crop my photographs as a way to represent my introspection. I look for subjects with a balance of pattern and chaos, and beauty and flaws. These, to me, reflect struggle, growth, and transformation. Each photograph is a statement of acceptance of who I am at any moment in time.
- Illness and Healing—
I photograph water because of its changeability. Shallow water—ponds, puddles, and ditch-water—are especially changeable. These bodies of water are the first to freeze and the first to thaw, and can reflect a beautiful sky or reveal a muddy mess below the water’s surface.
Each image depicts a fragile state that intimates how quickly one’s health can change. They bring to mind the expression, “This, too, shall pass,” inspiring both hope and humility. By depicting water in a transformative state, I allow the viewer to decide if each is a representation of hope or despair. This is an on-going project to photograph water as a way to represent health and its fragility, and illness and its impermanence.
- Geese and the Mpls Skyline—
One morning in early December 2004, I was driving across the Lowry Bridge in NE Mpls and saw steam rising up from the Mississippi River. I got out my camera and walked to the center of the bridge to take a picture of the steam, not realizing that over 200 Canada Geese were resting like rocks in the water. If I had realized that this would be one of my more popular images, I would have taken more than a dozen pictures. My Illness and Healing project began as I returned to the Lowry Bridge over and over to find a similar synchronistic scenario. It has not happened yet.
- Ordinary Beauty – Roadside Trees—
Most nature photographs are beautiful pastoral landscapes or close-up images of pretty flowers. My experience with nature is more urban: I see nature from the window of my car.
My photographs of trees are all taken in Minneapolis or Chicago along the side of highways and well-traveled city streets where their beauty is often overlooked. I pair these images as diptychs to invite a closer examination of urban nature. I am particularly fond of trees that fall into the noxious weed category like Buckthorn and Russian Olive, or Crab Apple trees which are despised for how they leave their fruit smashed on driveways and sidewalks.
- Landmarks and Neighborhood Identifiers—
I remember the first time I saw the North St Paul Snowman. It was frightening and exhilarating! Who would ever imagine a 30 foot concrete snowman to smile at you in the middle of summer? The photographs from this series are of those local identifiers that make me happy to be where I am and live where I live.
Prints on metallic paper, framed or unframed, mounted or unmounted, are available in sizes up to 40x60 inches. Please contact me through my website at www.michaelmcgraw.info.