Sequence Photographs – Seaweed and Sand, Amagansett

I’ve been working on a project which involves grouping compatible images into sequences.  This began a few years ago with a series I called “Dune Studies” –seen here:

Last summer while on vacation in Utah, the idea gained momentum.  We were taking hikes each day, often following streams in canyons. On these walks, I was photographing water reflections, rocks and lichens- all subjects that were easily found a few feet away.

At home, I began sorting through these pictures along with others shot on local beaches during similar walks. I found that if you assemble a group of three or four images in a vertical line, the results can suggest the movement of both time and space experienced during a walk.

Over the last few months I’ve put together 8 sequences of either three or four pictures each. I made two groups from last summer’s Utah trip- one of lichens and another of creeks. All the rest of the photographs were taken on beaches in East Hampton and Amagansett. In addition to those, I created a series of photographs made on various segments of the Paumanok Path (a 125 mile trail that winds across eastern Long Island). Two of my beach sequences (including the one on this page) are from Napeague Harbor at low tide. This harbor, especially in the vicinity of the Walking Dunes, has striking color and texture:

All of these sequences share characteristics—For one thing, they’re made up of individual photographs of what one might expect to encounter when hiking in a quiet place.  But with these pictures I don’t want to convey the larger landscape. This isn’t about distant horizons or dramatic skies. What matters here are the textures and colors of “local” things – subjects found while walking, often no more than ten feet away.

That’s the stepping-off point. Sequencing begins another process.

To do this, it seems to help if you view your project much as a painter might. You dab, so to speak, and you try things out. You play with line and texture. You move things around until it all starts to work.

If you pay attention to your groups you soon have something new. You’ve created a sequence of photographs that is asking to be viewed as a single unit. Its lines, colors, textures are now an integrated whole.

At times, the impressions generated from these sequences can be both refreshing and complex.

More sequences from the beach (and elsewhere) can be seen by clicking here:

2 thoughts on “Sequence Photographs – Seaweed and Sand, Amagansett

  1. Hey John,
    this series is beautiful – the colors look like the desert…the Southwest, the Sahara maybe…would not have thought of Amagansett! Congratulations.”

  2. David,

    The west shore of Napeague Harbor has a very unique palette for our area in terms of orange and red sands. This occurs because of iron-saturated groundwater which seeps onto the beach just west of the Walking Dunes.

    When the water comes into contact with air (at low tide), it oxidizes and forms distinct rusty deposits. Elsewhere, stronger currents wash similar deposits away.

    That’s where the pictures are from.

    And yes, I agree– the rusty colors most definitely recall various places in the Southwest pretty much for the same reason–the presence of iron. In fact, the well-known Coral Pink Sand Dunes in southern Utah are not all that much different in terms of red saturation, especially when witnessed in the last minutes of daylight.

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