Lava Rock & Seaweed on Lava Rock

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Volcanic rock outside of Madelena, Pico, Azores.

Prior to leaving I decided to focus my work for the residency on the seaweed in Pico.  I had collected some seaweeds from the St. Lawrence river in Quebec, with the idea those  experiments would help inform my approach in Pico.  The residency was only 10 days.  I needed to make sure I had a bit of a plan and focused before leaving for the trip.

What I have found in Pico surprised me.  The seaweed here rolls through the water and tumbles onto the rocks and sticks.  It spreads out or clumps together depending on how it washes up on land from the ocean.

Hanging by a Thread

Dried Seaweed – Hanging by a Thread


If you get up close to it, it seems to have a tread like quality to it.  When it is dry, it has a n interesting texture that seems both fragility and toughness

During the residency I collected a few pieces and clumps of seaweed and other things during some shoreline walks.  Like other artists working in other mediums, sometimes objects or things have a way of inspiring how I approach something photographically.  My still life work is usually very painterly but a more tradional approach rooted in realism and more classic photography is necessary.

Besides some of the things I found on the beach, I was really attracted to the contrast between the dark black, and varying shades of grey on the lava rocks.  Good thing the lighting changes or you could spend too much time studying all the different tones in those blacks. I enjoy colour looking for colour in seemingly monochromatic environments.

Close up of Lava Rock site in Pico Azores.

Different shades of Black + Textures

The colour changes in the seaweed throughout the day in the water and on land.   while it dried on land were equally interesting.

For a few days it was looking like I was going to create some monochromatic compositions on the rocks for the camera.  I had started sorting out some logistics for working with that idea.  After a few days some words of wisdom from an art school teacher came to mind “Sometimes your first idea is not your best idea.”  Good advice.  The idea of making my own creations on rocks was shelved.  It wasn’t a bad idea, but it wasn’t happening.  It was no longer worth attempting to follow through with it for the residency.