Bu Sands, Isle of Burray, Orkney, Scotland. 1982-83

Bu Sands: some Orkney landscapes, 1982-83 [folio]

The Apollo moon landings loosened our sense of selves in ways that have yet to be fully understood. Something profound shifted in me, as, I am sure, in so many others of my generation. When Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the lunar surface, I was almost 8,000 feet above sea-level, unable to sleep, trying to catch the crackled news as it came through my dorm prefect’s radio. The next day, I awoke to a break in the monsoon downpours, and out there, white and unreal, was Kanchejunga, the third highest peak in the world.

Years later, I saw Harry Callahan’s beach photographs from Cape Cod (made around 1972). – The book from this work is wonderful: The Waters Edge (now out of print and very hard to find)

Then one day, a few more years on, ambling along my favorite stretch of beach in Orkney, I felt a conflation of visual experiences and memories:

the shadow of a lunar module strut
debossed in the sand/dust, faint traces of human activity
peaks of blaze and sky and no sense of near and far
whiteness that is without place, all powder and threatening imagination
my toy cars and lego bits, fingers and sticks terraforming landscapes
eric satie’s capacity to put us firmly between notes, between sand grains and sand castles
a light so harsh that it is without shadow, it denies itself

So, I began to take these photographs.

The landscape changes, and is shaped and defined by the imagination. Even the far side of the moon does this.