In The Wood, a series of diptychs made over the past year, Brian David Stevenspresents an intimate and contemplative portrait of a British woodland; in each of these tightly composed and subtle images, the British photographer carefully excludes any significant sense of horizon or distance, creating an image that draws the viewer in — embracing them — and allowing them to explore the natural beauty and detail of each carefully selected area, of what one assumes is a much larger woodland.
Whilst the wood in which Stevens works is close to his north London home, the beauty of these images is that it could be any woodland; allowing the viewer to impart their own memories and thoughts upon these beautiful images. Maybe it is the memory of a lone Sunday morning walk through a favourite local wood, with only the distant melody of the Song Thrush for company, the rhythmic drumming of a woodpecker, and an all too fleeting glimpse of deer as it passes silently through the undergrowth, that springs to mind; or maybe it is a recollection of childhood memories of play, with now distant friends that comes to mind; what ever the memory, it is the power of Stevens’ images that allows the viewer to revisit these these varied points of memory.
In an almost stereographic approach the two singular elements of the diptych overlap — in one of these images we encounter two tree trunks, their moss covered bark contrasting with the frosty woodland floor underfoot, a thick branch reaches out horizontally to the left, breaching the white void between the two and connecting the individual frames, and in doing so elongating the physical space. In another image, we stand before dense almost impenetrable undergrowth, with both frames appearing at first identical, yet as one looks on, allowing the tangled web of branches and grasses to envelop us, we begin to experience the subtle shift of perspective in the individual frames.
Like the physical space that Stevens’ depicts in The Wood, this series is free from the restrictions of time and society; a walk through the woods, either alone or with a loved one, becomes a dialogue with nature, where one becomes lost in personal thought and contemplation; as we look at, and experience Stevens’ images, we become lost as the power of nature washes over us, embracing us, and slowly revealing its secret paths, that free us from the stress of everyday life, and allowing us to discover and experience our inner emotions and thoughts.
ALL IMAGES COPYRIGHT BRIAN DAVID STEVENS 2007-2010 THEY MUST NOT BE REPRODUCED IN ANY FORM WITHOUT PRIOR PERMISSION CONTACT briandavidstevens AT talk21.com
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