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Part Three 20 Photographs > Restless, Death Valley, California, 2011

Restless, Death Valley, California, 2011

“RESTLESS” IS A VERTICALLY FRAMED 4:5 photograph made on the Racetrack Playa in Death Valley, California. It is one of a series of photographs made with a very specific mood in mind, and as such there were specific elements present and choices made that I hoped—and still hope—accomplish this. The mood I was looking for is best described to be not literal landscapes but more abstract or impressionist dreamscapes, as it were. I wanted images that were about—to use a word I’ve thought much about this past year—liminality. Liminality is about the threshold between states, like twilight, which is neither night nor day. Of course, this photograph is about other things as well.

Twilight has associations with sleep, and our dreams often contain an element of surrealism, so I chose to shoot this and others in the series with a tilt-shift lens, which gives me finer control over not only the relationship of elements to each other—allowing me to slightly exaggerate the diagonal line caused by the rock’s movement—but also finer control over the plane of focus. Altering the plane of focus by tilting the lens lets me keep the trail of the rock in focus while blurring out much of the rest of the image. Because our eye doesn’t normally see things with this shifted focal plane, we read the image as “not quite right,” surreal, or dreamlike.


  

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