Timothy O’Sullivan – Tufa Domes

timothy-h-o-sullivan-tufa-domes-pyramid-lake-nevada-1867.jpgAlbumen print from collodion negative.

All I needed was a second’s glance at a collection of O’Sullivan’s art to pick this out of the crowd. Most of his artwork seems eerie, but this one in particular stood out in the most subtle, unsettling way. With a lessened attention on the actual presence of humans in the picture, the attention is drawn to the landscape, of which the elements are limited. There are only a few boulders and craggy outcroppings amidst a large body of water.

And then just mist.

I indulge in anything eerie or inherently unsettling, and that fog/mist covering absolutely everything behind the landscape mesmerizes me. It’s like a moment of reality was captured on some magical camera and revealed that life is all existent on a 2-dimensional surface; we’re just characters on a blank canvas, our environment just drawn in around us. It challenges the viewer’s perspective of what the reality surrounding the viewer’s waking moments truly is. Is life just a sequence of finite snapshots, with the next seconds forever expanding reality as we move through time’s fourth dimension? It’s like the end of existence in the captured moment lies just beyond those craggy outcroppings. If you froze time and climbed them, you could just fall right out of everything into the infinite abyss of nothing, erased.

To me, this photograph captures the most beautiful, terrifyingly peaceful translation of “Where the Sidewalk Ends.”

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