De la Luz
Project info

De la Luz, “of the light”, refers to the special light I experienced when photographing out in the fields in northern Monterey County, California. The crops, and more, unfolded under the sun in full view. A search for the American dream is played out under this light as well.

For years during my commute along Highway 1, I would see fields and anonymous figures from my window streaking by. I decided to stop one day and look at these unexamined scenes.

The fields and crops were laid out in geometric patterns and stretched as far as the eye could see; nature taken and manipulated, oddly beautiful. These vast expanses gave me a sense of freedom and I was drawn to photograph them with my view camera. I also noticed evidence of rapidly passing time, faster than the seasons. Multiple plantings at an expected pace and a continuous rotation of crops are made possible by the temperate climate. One day the fields were abundant and the next day they lay barren, shredded stalks revealed.

De la Luz became grounded when I turned my lens to the people working these fields. Through my interactions with them, I came to learn that these open landscapes are deceiving in simplicity. Within the geometric patterns, I now saw lines, borders, and boundaries. The sense of freedom and tranquility that I felt when photographing these areas was my perception and not necessarily shared by the people to whom it should matter most, to those that worked the land. And time, which for me had seemed to pass so quickly here, in truth held its breath waiting for change.

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This project was photographed primarily with a 4x5 view camera. I work as sole craftsman from the moment the negative is exposed to the creation of the final silver gelatin print.