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John Pfahl: Luminous River

  • Posted by SHFT on August 12, 2011 in Photography
  • While driving from his home in Buffalo to Washington D.C., legendary landscape photographer John Pfahl became captivated by the constantly changing views of the Susquehanna River, which runs along the highway for fifty miles. Inspired, he later set out on an ambitious project to document the entire length of the river. The resulting photo series, called Luminous River, pays homage to 19th century American landscape painting, with placid scenes of water and sky that stir the soul.

    Writes Pfahl in his artist statement:

    Cutting through five mountain ridges, spotted with wooded islands large and small, and featuring wide glassy surfaces interspersed with riffles and rapids, the Susquehanna appeared to be a condensed catalog of classic river landscapes. The light on that first occasion, and on many subsequent visits, was transcendent. The river seemed to soften the air through which it flowed, conjuring up tones of 19th century American landscape painting.

    Luminous River was shortlisted for the inaugural Prix Pictet in 2008. For more, check out Pfahl's digitally altered landscapes, previously posted on SHFT.






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