Copyright 2014
John Huddleston

Photographer's Statement

These photographs attempt to relate the investigations of landscape photography and high energy physics. The assumptions and realizations of each point of view are both complementary and conflicting. The increasing distance and antipathy between art and science are unfortunate; photography stands uniquely poised between the two worlds, holding potential for reconciliation.

Both landscape photography and physics involve an approach to external,natural realities with some degree of objectification and scientific pursuit. As modern physics seeks new understanding of time, space, and the origins of the universe, it comes remarkably close to being a verifiable system of philosophy. Landscape photography asks many similar questions in its own contemplative and visual manner. The best of each discipline also offers the challenging paradox of arriving at a basic sense of unity after utilizing a method of isolation, selection, and analysis. While the two paths depend upon individual flashes of insight, they are also progressions based on the cumulative efforts and discourses of their practitioners. The study and use of light and form are essential ingredients of photography and physics and, as such, often result in a profound sense of beauty and truth.

Of course, the differences in approach are quite marked, also. Physics is a science, based on the rational, the mathematical, and the repeatable experiment. Landscape photography is concerned with intuition, spirit, and emotion, as well as the intellect. Modern physics does deal with unities and the search for underlying similarities, but it remains largely an analytical, dividing, and reductionist method. Photography does select and isolate, but the modus operandi is usually not purely analytic, but involves a more holistic perspective from the start. Both disciplines make use of technology to extend our senses, but the mammoth apparatus of high energy accelerators is certainly on a different order of magnitude than the 4" x 5" view camera. The languages also stand quite apart. Abstract mathematical equations and lifelike visual forms make very different appeals to our minds.

Other general issues arise in this series. The fundamental difficulty of reconciling language and imagery presents a constant challenge to the viewer. Notions of history are addressed in several ways. The prints are sequenced to parallel the development of modern physics - from the studies of light, to relativity, to quantum mechanics, to cosmology, to the entrance of consciousness into physics theory. Included in the prints concerned with the grand history of the universe, the multiple print traces an idea of the briefer evolution of the earth. Definitions of time and its progression are the focus in several other pieces.

I hope that these prints offer interesting juxtapositions of thought. The photograph and the physics tend to amplify and build on one another, while at the same time, they deconstruct the other's view of the world. The heart of the matter lies in the photograph, in the physics theory, and in their conceptual meeting. The dialetical tension and ambiguity of these texted images may provide an opportunity of bringing together parts of ourselves in these schizoid times.