photo-eye Gallery Edward Ranney: Behind the Image – Palpa Valley, 2004 and Wastwater from Whinn Rigg, Cumbria, England, 1981 Evidence of Edward Ranney's even-tempered and understanding demeanor is present in the landscapes he's captured in his prestigious 40 year career. Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of Two Landscapes: England and Peru, currently on view at photo-eye Gallery through December 5th, is not the juxtaposition of disparate climates but the consistency in Ranney's subtle yet persistent approach to the land.
|Installation View, Edward Ranney – Two Landscapes: England & Peru | photo: Savannah Sakry|
Edward Ranney is a patient man. Evidence of Ranney's even-tempered and understanding demeanor is present in the landscapes he's captured in his prestigious 40 year career. What else would drive a person to climb the Wastwater Hills in poor weather with a 5x7 view camera, or return to the heart of Peru consistently for decades? Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of Two Landscapes: England and Peru, currently on view at photo-eye Gallery through December 5th, is not the juxtaposition of disparate climates but the consistency in Ranney's subtle yet persistent approach to the land. Viewed as a whole, the Peruvian desert images mixed on the same wall with England's Lake district, Two Landscapes is as much a testament of Ranney's photographic practice as it is a well constructed document of place. To expand on his process, photo-eye asked Ranney to describe the making of two of the exhibition's signature images – Palpa Valley, 2004 and Wastwater from Whinn Rigg, Cumbria, England, 1981.
"The pairing of these pictures brings up some interesting things to think about. First, in considering the important issue of vantage point, a key to any good landscape photograph, it’s important to be aware that one is not particularly helped by finding the most dramatic place to work from — structure is a key element in any work of art, and I was lucky with these two pictures to have found a spot where an abstract sense of space began to work for me. Often when I’m walking with the view camera in a certain spot, a slight elevation or rise will exert a pull that makes total sense when I set the tripod down there — this was the case with the view of the two Nazca lines, which can be seen to be either converging at this small rise or flowing out from it, drawing one’s eyes to certain spots in the landscape.
Investigators of the Nazca geoglyphs call spots where lines converge (or radiate) 'ray centers,' and while they are readily apparent from the air, it is not easy to see them on the ground. I had been walking for some time when I happened on this spot, and it made perfect sense to work there. In a sense, the picture made itself. Someone once wrote that '..lines, if perceptible, are forms, and have to go through the same being born as a form.' The recognition of these forms in the landscape perhaps confirms what the Nazca people centuries ago felt about this particular space, and gives an indication as to how they integrated themselves with this harsh environment by creating a certain kind of form.
Northern England, of course, is an entirely different world from Peru’s desert, and I made the picture of Wastwater over 20 years earlier than the desert picture. Nevertheless, the same outlook regarding vantage point is relevant, especially in an area where quickly changing weather can give one an unexpected insight at a particular spot, or render a successful picture impossible. I considered rather carefully the conditions that would keep me from getting drenched by rain as I hiked up the area near Scafell Pikes and Great Gable in the western sector of the Lake District and found that by prowling around the cliff above Wastwater, there were hints of light conditions and vantage points that might give me something special. It took some time, but the structure for the image gradually developed and finally became clear from a certain spot, much as a drawing might develop as one sketches in the landscape. In addition, I saw the shapes of the fields below to be of some importance, along with the role the elegant little house plays in the picture. Different elements can play integral parts in a successful landscape, but overall what we’re after, I suppose, is a view that can help us discover what Robert Adams suggests is the 'significance of a place.' Hopefully that is open to as many interpretations as there are viewers of the picture."—Edward Ranney
|Howgill Fells, Cumbria, England, 1981 – Edward Ranney|
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Two Landscapes: England & Peru is currently on view at photo-eye Gallery through December 5th, 2015. For more information or to purchase prints please contact Gallery Director Anne Kelly at 505.988.5152 x 121 or firstname.lastname@example.org