David Batchelder: Tideland
David Batchelder’s book, Tideland, is 128 large full color photos taken from 2010-2015 off the U.S. coast at the Isle of Palms. But, the images are ambiguous, and location is not clear to the observer. At first glance, they appear aerial in nature but are actually taken from a standing position from right on the ground. The photos express the vast visual formations of the land that occurs from the moving water. I see this work being about the observation of the many variances in textures, colors and shapes that are created over and over again in nature. Batchelder’s work bring to light this simple and often overlooked beauty.
In the 1960s, David Batchelder received an MA and MFA in photography from the University of Iowa studying under John Schulz. He has taught photography at Smith College, Amherst College, Boston University, Dartmouth College, and Plymouth State College. His early photographs have been exhibited widely, published in Aperture magazine, and can be admired in many collections including Institute of Contemporary Art Boston, Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Museum of Fine Arts Houston. Batchelder stopped making creative photographs in 1984 and resumed again when the shores caught his eye.
After five years of looking closely through his camera at a small beach, David Batchelder no longer sees the shores as we know them. His vision now is of a private reality within the tideland. In Tideland, Batchelder invites you to join him in his visual journey into a tideland like none that has yet been photographed.
Batchelder uses the camera, not to picture more clearly that which we already know, but to discover and capture that which we have no idea exists. He shares with us an inexplicable, ambiguous, imaginative and odd world of magical visions – landscapes, spaces, creatures and curious objects, disfigured and eroded by the ocean. Although Batchelder uses digital processes, his approach to creative camera work has its origin very much in the era of film, using a digital camera and Photoshop as one would have used a film camera and a darkroom.
David Campany’s essay introduces Batchelder’s tideland world where the viewer’s imagination and memory take over and, you too, leave the beach as you now know it.
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