Sunday, February 20, 2011

Waves of Trees in Snow, 2009: Tim Barnwell Print of the Month

"Waves of Trees in Snow, 2009" copyright by Tim Barnwell,
used by permission

(click on image for larger view)

I want this photograph. It reminds me of the more remote ridges and hollows in Pennsylvania where I grew up and of backcountry areas in West Virginia (the areas without mountaintop removal coal mining looming high above, ready to bury the valley with debris from the overburden and pollute the groundwater). Because this is one of Tim Barnwell’s photographs, I suspect it was taken further south in Appalachia. If you are a long time reader of my blog, you know that I've written about his work in the past, which you can read here and here.

Barnwell’s photographs capture the landscape of my home, of my roots. And when I look at the rise and fall of the ridges and the contours of the snowy mountains surrounding that homestead, I am transported. Joyce Carol Oates wrote in one of her novels (possibly it was in We Were the Mulvaneys) that we never escape the landscape of our childhood. She was talking about the emotional landscape as well as the physical landscape. Barnwell's image "Waves of Trees in Snow, 2009" evokes a strong emotional response for me: homesickness for how it feels to live nestled in the mountains; amazement at the pristine beauty; concern that this beauty will be lost; and admiration for Barnwell's artistry.

I have not yet had the pleasure of seeing Barnwell's work in exhibition, but I own a copy of one of his three books, On Earth's Furrowed Brow. Those images had the power to make me cry in the bookstore as I paged through the book for the first time. Although the price of a print of one of the images published there is beyond my means (Barnwell's photographs are included in the collections of several museums, including the Metropolitan Museum), Barnwell has launched a new "Print of the Month" program that is a wonderful opportunity for anyone who is serious about collecting fine art photography but has limited budget. "Waves of Trees in Snow, 2009" is the first photograph to be offered as a print of the month, and it is available until March 31, 2011 – which just happens to be the timeframe when I'll see another birthday come and go. Last year I received a Bill Scheele photograph of Levon Helm for my birthday. This year, I'm thinking a Barnwell photograph would be a nice addition to our collection.

Here is the description from Barnwell's website of how the new program works: "The Print of the Month Program is designed to introduce collectors to new, previously unpublished, images by master photographer and printer Tim Barnwell. We are able to offer special initial pricing, as these images are not available through galleries until after they rotate out of the Print of the Month (POM) program." These are limited edition photographs (a maximum of thirty photographic reproductions will be made), and each is mounted, matted, signed and numbered. The price is $295 during the time the print is offered as a print of the month selection. Print size is 11x14 (prints of this size are normally priced at $600 for unpublished images and $1200 for images published in his three books). For an additional $35, framing is available (black metal 16x20 frame, with Plexiglas). More details and ordering information are available at his website.

I'm looking forward to seeing what images will be offered in the future through the Print of the Month program, but this first one has the power to make me a little misty around the eyes, in the same way that the images in On Earth's Furrowed Brow do. It’s the topology that does it. In the prologue to An American Childhood, Annie Dillard writes, “When everything else has gone from my brain – the President’s name, the state capitals, the neighborhoods where I lived, and then my own name and what it was on earth I sought, and then at length the faces of my friends, and finally the faces of my family – when all this has dissolved, what will be left, I believe, is topology: the dreaming memory of land as it lay this way and that.”

Tim Barnwell is a commercial and fine arts photographer based in Asheville, North Carolina. He is the author of three books, The Face of Appalachia, On Earth's Furrowed Brow, and Hands in Harmony. His fine art photography has been exhibited widely and his images have appeared in dozens of magazines including Time, Newsweek, Southern Accents, House Beautiful, American Craft, Outdoor Photographer, Sky and Telescope, US Air, Blue Ridge Country, U.S. News and World Report, Billboard, Travel South, American Style, Black & White Magazine, LensWork, and National Parks.

Photo Credit: "Waves of Trees in Snow, 2009" copyright by Tim Barnwell, used by permission

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Edd Fuller said...

Dory, couldn't agree more with you concerning "On Earth's Furrowed Brow." I found it in the library some years ago and spent hours looking at it. I now own all three of Barnwell's books but it is still my favorite. By the way, when I called to order the books, Tim himself answered the phone and took my order, which was a bit of a surprise, but it was nice to chat with him.

Like you, I would love to see a print. Good luck with that birthday!

Dory Adams said...

Edd, that's a great story about Tim answering the phone. Another birthday, a new print -- it could make the whole aging thing a lot easier to take!