Project info

San Francisco Bay Area-based artist Debra Bloomfield’s large color photographs are subdued, minimal views of wooded wilderness lands. Her project, which suggests the way the wilderness feels, rather than what it looks like, shows subtle variations within motifs of water, sky, birds, trees and mountains. As she worked, the sounds around her made a lasting impact, and she decided to make them part of her presentation. Indeed, she has commented, “As early as the Four Corners work [landscapes made in the American Southwest between 1989 and 2000] I have been aware that I am influenced by the sounds I hear while photographing. With 'Wilderness', I have finally done something about it.” Early in working on the "Wilderness" project, Bloomfield was captivated by a haunting sound, which she only later identified as the raven’s call. This aural orientation to the place informed what she photographed, and suggested the presentation of the work should reflect those multisensory experiences. Her photographs, which were taken on repeat visits to a distant forest landscape, speak from that far-off place both wild and remote. While there, Bloomfield recorded ambient sounds – both as she photographed and as she journeyed from her urban home to the wilderness. Later, working with her musician son, Jake Bloomfield-Misrach, she used these various recordings to create a soundscape; a sound that will permeate the experience of looking. A CD of the soundscape is also included in her book "Wilderness", published by University of New Mexico Press, in January 2014.