Mud Patterns, 1987. San Rafael Swell, Utah
When I first saw this smooth and luminous subject, in Utah's beautiful San Rafael Swell, the color and texture reminded me of skin. I photographed the image with a 4x5 view camera, pointing the camera steeply downward at a section of mud that was clean and evenly patterned. I printed this image on a grade 2 paper and toned the print severely in Kodak selenium toner, achieving a warm selenium brown print color that enhanced the character and luminosity of the image. As I looked at the finished print in the wash water, it was upside down, and the mud patterns took on a completely different visual dimension. The print, as it appears in this page, looks as if the edges of the mud have been sharply sculpted by flowing water. Viewing this print upside down, the edges of the mud appear soft and rounded, taking on a completely different character.
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