by Kathleen Larsen
I’ve never felt any need to intellectualize what for me is essentially an emotional process; by that I mean that when I make an image it is usually in response to emotional or sensory input. So I’m after emotional content in my images. All of my work, to me, is simply an exploration of what is out there for us to see. I’m interested in telling stories, illustrated by the way I perceive the world. —Doug Ethridge
Although fine art photographer Doug Ethridge began his creative life as a musician —which continues to influence his creativity—he has come a long way with his body of work titled Silent Memories from his humble beginnings as a young child photographing family trips and summer camp with an instamatic camera . The project’s inception came about after his father suffered a stroke followed by “a period where his memory was jumbled” . Memory is not static. As time passes our memories fade and change, reshaping themselves “nearer to the heart’s desire” . It is the concept of transience that Ethridge explores in his photographs.
With a plan of action at the ready, Ethridge set out to capture “moments encountered while mostly driving along the Pacific Coast from Neah Bay to San Diego” . Although he begins with a plan, Ethridge allows himself to work intuitively, reacting to the moment and the place while also considering the light and structure of the composition before clicking the shutter. His intended response by the viewer is simple: “whenever I can motivate a viewer to pause, to look twice, or to think about the way they view the world, or to simply enjoy the beauty of a moment I may have been lucky enough to capture, I am a happy guy” .
Working with a plan yet allowing for surprises along the journey, Ethridge set out on a journey with his Rolleiflex camera taking him past the boundaries of his front yard to capture “fleeting memories of places glimpsed once, of momentary impressions” . The images in the body of work use selective focus to illustrate the fragile nature of memory. Choosing to print in the alternative process of palladium adds to the overall effect. Viewers are taken on a journey through both space and time. In the foreground objects are substantial, dark, and detailed and as viewers walk back in space the objects shrink becoming more obscured and mysterious.
For more information or to see more of Ethridge’s work, visit: http://www.douglasethridge.com/ and http://www.kevinlongino.com/portfolios.cfm?a=40&t=collector