Gerard Yunker “Réttsælis” @ Paul Kuhn Gallery

Gerard Yunker’s process takes multiple exposures, combining them into one very large panoramic digital file of the same image. Pushing the medium to the extreme, it becomes purely digital photography, maximizing resolution to capture an intensity of detail that would be utterly beyond the reach of film.

“These images come from eight days in Iceland, moving clockwise from the West Fjords around the whole island. They’re fundamentally visual landscapes, but they are also physical, in terms of sensing rather than just seeing. In this unknown environment, these frigid, metallic skies, that piercing light, the radically changing conditions and temperatures, I just surrendered to it; becoming part of it, standing inside of it, seeing it change.”

“Those physical sensations became an integral part of the picture-taking process. Similar effects come through in the final images, in part, because of the scale. At full resolution, like the early colour field ‘environments’, you are in that landscape. The beautiful thing for me was the negative space, those immense, yet strangely intimate abstractions. This work was about the exploration of an unknown environment; I went into a panoramic mode of seeing, coming to the place with no knowledge, and no preconceived ideas. Walking towards cloud and rock formations I saw in the distance, I was working from hour to hour on instinct, with no inner art direction, no design. From thousands of images, more than a hundred hours of shooting, these ten emerge. They are fragments of worlds and landscapes I had never seen before, and in a very real sense, landscapes that cannot actually be seen. They preserve more detail than eye can see – or knows it’s seeing- things that only appeared in the studio in the final image. They contain so much more information than I was aware of, even at the time of shooting. Against these stark geometries of Iceland, the lines of rock walls and cloud-banks, were the shapes of unseen birds; of electrical poles, miles off, like tiny scratches across their perfect surfaces.”

“I wanted this heightened, amplified experience of the visual- the extreme, almost surreal clarity of this place- to extend to the far edges of the image and not blur at the peripheries, as it does in the eye. In these images I later encountered in the studio, there was still that beat of the sensory, almost acoustic world I was shooting, inseparably meshed with the technological processes I was using. That collision between the digital and natural landscape is what these works have attempted to record.” -Gerard Yunker