Maybe you're here because you
love the land, and the beauty of the natural world in the same way that I
have, for as long as I can remember. That might be difficult to put
into words, as such feelings tend to be. I'll
try to explain the way it happened for me. I grew up not too far as
the crow flies from my current Southern Delaware home, in a rural area
of southern Chester county Pennsylvania. We were close to the Lancaster
county line, in the middle of a farming community.
Amish buggies were a common sight. Deer, hoot owls, pheasants and foxes
were our neighbors. My earliest memories are of rocky creeks, ponds
filled with frogs and fish, seemingly endless fields of tall, lush,
green corn, old wooden barns, deep woods, and steep
hills.There was a unique energy about the area, which remains with me,
even today. I was raised to love and respect the land, and the
landscape became part of me.
On my tenth birthday I received a super 8
movie camera, and began to make films with my friends.
My mother was an amateur photographer and gave me pointers with regard
to both film and still photography. I enjoyed both. As a young man, I
took two college courses in black and white photography. The professor
was very into Ansel Adams, and John Muir. Adam's book entitled "The Print" was required reading. That book, which
goes into detail about Adam's exact methodology for transforming his
photographs into timeless works of art through countless hours in the
dark room, was for me, transformative. Adams
is as you may know, considered to be arguably the greatest landscape
photographer ever. We practiced in the darkroom, dodging and burning
negatives, bringing shadows up and down, experimenting with light, and
refining our images, until finally we were ready
to print. One of Adam's quotes always stayed with me. " You don't take a
photograph, you make a photograph" And, make them he did, spending
weeks, and even months in the darkroom, perfecting a single image. When I
came to understand that this was beyond photography,
taking snap shots and memorialized images, it was in fact, an extensive
artistic process, my vision began to take form.
My brother Tobias
Hurwitz is a guitar instructor, and one of his favorite sayings is: "
First learn the rules, and then learn to break
them" My personal philosophy is, the rules are the "how". What's more
important is the "why" My "why" goes directly back to the feeling I
mentioned earlier. What did Vincent Van Gough see when he stood beneath
the sky on a Starry, Starry, night? I imagine,
he saw much the same sky as anyone else in the vicinity. But, what did
he feel? If we want to know what he felt, we gaze into his painting, and
it moves us, perhaps in the same way he was moved. Or, we are moved in
our own, unique way.
Art moves us, it evokes
an emotional response from the viewer. It delivers a message, or a
state of mind. Often in my life, there have been, and continue to be
moments of doubt, tough choices, and concerns over things that are
beyond my control.
I suppose, that's a part of my story
that we all share. Mary Chapin Carpenter wrote of "A Hand On My Back"
Which is a metaphor that resonates with me. Have you ever felt at times
in your life, when it was needed most, that " Hand" touching and guiding
you? There are no words for it, but if you've
ever felt it, you'll never forget it. The times when I've felt it,
have always been in the beauty of nature. Sitting on top of a stack of
hay bales, with the smell of old barnwood and sunshine in the air,
watching a slowly setting ball of fire in a vast and
clear summer sky. Listening to waves whispering and then crashing on an
ocean beach, with the sunrise beginning to illuminate the sky, the
sounds of sea birds crying, the aroma of salt air and brine on the
breeze. Just a few years ago, I needed that hand,
and I felt it as I pulled my car off the road. in Pennsylvania, and
watched a field of fireflies illuminate the Twighlight with distant heat
lightning in the sky and a faint smell of wild onion and honeysuckle in
the air. Just a moment in time, but one that
moves the soul, and remains in the heart.
That's my why. That's why I'm
a landscape photographer. I want to share images that feel and then
create, which capture that feeling, and remind me of that " Hand" on my
back. which has served in a way as my salvation.
I view the camera's sensor as my palette, and I paint it with light,
using a wide variety of tools, including vintage lenses, long exposures,
and filters. Recently I have begun to re-learn film using a vintage
medium format camera. It's great fun.
I have been
named " Delaware's Best Landscape Photographer by Delaware Today
Magazine, and will be exhibiting for the second year in a row at The
Best Of Delaware Gala at The Chase Center on the River front in
Wilmington. All proceeds go to charity, and I enjoy donating
wall art to various charitable auctions.
I believe in giving back to
the community. I also exhibit annually at The Brandywine Festival of the
Arts in downtown Wilmington, Delaware, which is in its 61st year.
Please join me to say hello
at either of these wonderful events, or at The Sean Kelley and friends'
art gallery on Penny Lane in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, where I'm a
longtime resident artist. I'm also a member of The Rehoboth Art League,
which is a wonderful place to visit.
is meant to be shared, and taken into homes, hung on walls, and felt by
my friends and family, and people like you who share my love of the
land, and feel the same way. Thanks for joining me here, and taking
the time to view my work, and read a little of
my story, which is of course, just like your's, still being written.
Gandhi M. Hurwitz photographer.