Photographer David Parker’s new exhibit Myth & Landscape is a continuation of his exploration of quiet contemplation of nature’s beauty and mystery that began with his series Sirens.
My pictures are intended to siren-like, allure viewers into a mysterious abstract world, both concrete and ineffable, attuning them to mythological and metaphorical themes by removing all references to time and place. Sea-stacks are all that remain of cliffs that eroded many hundreds and thousands of years ago. These solitary pillars would have evolved from collapsed arches and will one day be surrendered back to the sea that carved them. I feel that in their slowly achieved individuation these sea-stacks reflect our own existential isolation, putting us in mind at once of our own mortality and of life’s worth and beauty, and perhaps reconciling us to the paradox. Myths and legends have often been shaped and inspired by geologic landforms and similarly, I use the natural world as an arena for the exploration of symbolic and metaphoric motifs, a theme that I previously explored in ‘The Phenomenal World’. My images therefore carry no identifying names or locations because I want their reference to be the individual spectators’ psyche rather than a set of geographical co-ordinates. Naming something is a way of knowing and measuring it, and thereby removing from it something of its mystery. These images with their anonymity are intended to function, not as documents, but as triggers to memory that point past themselves to worlds within the viewers’ imagination.
The sirens’ song with its promise of ultimate knowledge also suggests an infinite realm that opens a window onto ideas of the sublime. To my mind, it is also the song of art, which charms and fascinates us into the ego-diminishing state of aesthetic enchantment, the goal and consolation of all art.