Walking through the wooded areas of Central Park it is easy to succumb to the interplay of light and shadow, and find yourself pleasantly intertwined with the composition of the landscape in a remotely mystical way.
The wilderness aspect of the park is no accident. Initially designed and built by Frederick Law Olmstead and Calvert Vaux in the mid to late 1800’s it reflects much of the spirit of the Transendentalist theories of the time. These included the writings of Thoreau and Emerson, as well as the painters of the Hudson River School, all of whom saw the uniqueness of the Eastern Wilderness of the Uniited States as defining the spirit of the national character, and as a source of inspiration for the creative soul.
“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms.” –Henry David Thoreau, Walden: Or, Life in the Woods
With these words, Thoreau began his book describing his adventures of living for two years in a small, self-built cottage in the forest next to Walden Pond. I began a one year project to photograph Walden Pond for much the same reason. It is a far simpler landscape than those presented by the grandeur of the American West. As such, it demands closer attention to detail and to the subtle interplay changes of nature have on the scene. For a full appreciation of Walden Pond you are required to bring something of yourself to the equation.
I spent two years (the same amount of time Thoreau lived there) photographing Walden Pond in all its seasons. My goal was to complete a portfolio that reflects the pond and forest life as Thoreau might have experienced it.