Robert A. Hicks • photographer
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Photographic Statement

In 1998, after providing more than 30 years of technical, scientific and documentary photography for largely academic projects, I decided to redirect my career emphasizing much more personal photographic pursuits. Although it was gratifying to have photographic illustrations in academic journals, magazines, books, museums and various archives, I wanted something more from photography than the scientifically accurate documentation required in this work. As I worked more with archaeologists, historians and especially with ethnographers, my interest in the interpretive aspects of still photography intensified. It was soon apparent that my background in geography, the study of man on the land, would be prominently expressed through the photographic mediums interpretative process. The relationship between man and the land becomes an overriding theme for me, both in our reaction to the natural environment and the environments reaction to our endeavors.

Simply recording a landscape is not enough; I must attempt to make an image that gives the viewer an intimate view of its essence, that essence that I find attractive, comforting, catches my curiosity or is humorous. Our current and ancestral relationships with the land have produced modifications to both humans and the occupied regions. These modifications leave artifacts that interest me. This is indeed a curious relationship since it has evolved and changed with time. I find it engaging to find and isolate these remnants, record them in current context and present these images, occasionally sad, sometimes contemplative, and often humorous, for viewing.

The photographs presented here are hand made using archival photographic processes, procedures and materials. The photographic paper, chloro-bromide, is fiber based; mounting board, over-mats and dry-mount tissue are buffered and acid free. My preferred format has been the 4"x5" view camera which insures excellent image quality, but more importantly, requires a contemplative photographic approach. I find it engaging to isolate and interpret these images through the inherent abstraction of the traditional black and white photographic process and present them formally, in the "West Coast" tradition as toned gelatin-silver prints.