The art of the landscape capture has many layered meanings, known or unbeknownst to the photographer. It is not until we dig deeper, that we see the workings within our images that are hidden – or not so hidden. Traces and remnants of history held in what now remains from the impact of environment and man.
In this series of photogravures, Telescoping Landscapes, I explore what we see on the surface and through the artworks, tell the story held within.
Maui’s beautiful rainforest trails and volcanic mountains of Iao Valley offer incredible vistas and scenery. They also hold a sacred spirituality in history and instill a place to respect what remains. What remains are the stories featured in my photogravure series, Telescoping Landscapes and are a visual voice of the land.
One of the wettest areas of Maui, Iao Valley is a rainforest and National Natural Landmark. Lava mountains offer breathtaking waterfalls and lush vegetation. This is the landscape which covers the phallic lava remnant known as Kanaloa, God of the Underworld, the Eye of the Needle.
The Iao land itself holds countless remains and history of an ancient warrior lookout. There are sacred and secret ali’i burial grounds that include Kings. The Iao Needle also holds the past of those who lost their lives in an historical bloody battle. So many fell their bodies blocked the Iao stream of water which ran red. This battle site is called “Kepaniwai”, “the damming of the waters”.
In Weitz’s photogravure “Iao Valley”, the serene example of an early Maui settlement home stands beneath in the Valley. Part of history, and part of the continuing encroachment of the rest of the world to Maui’s shores. The green Kozo chine collé represents the history, mystery and the past of Maui. The brown ink a la poupee creeps toward the past but is lost in the black and white of today. The plant of the tarot root, vital in Hawaiian culture, watches below.
Maui cane fields hold history – and traditions such as burning of the cane fields continue today. But now, the populous of modern civilization has clashed with the old ways, as air quality from cane burn smoke becomes an issue with many residents in these valleys.
Through this image and the vibrance, I try to relate the experience of standing in the arms of this sacred place, Hoh Forest. There was such quiet. Peace. Moss and growth thicker than I have ever seen, majestic ancients, giant trees filtering the light with every shade of green imaginable. The green glowed as if God had an emerald lens filter in front of the sun. You feel the clean air.
The trails are natural routes from the elk that are part of this eco system. There are halls of moss, and you begin to believe in fairies.
This protected area, once reverent for one of the quietest places on earth, is now being invaded by noise. Not only from the record number of people visiting parks, but the noise pollution that lurks from above.
Read more in this article from the National Parks Conservation Association: