Jeff Friesen

I first came across Jeff Friesen’s work when he submitted his lovely image, Waterborne, to a Lenscratch exhibition.

Waterborne, from Keeping Lost Time

Jeff has a new body of work, Winterdeep, that feels visually refreshing, sort of like finding that piece of Wintermint gum in the bottom of your purse after a big Italian meal, and that first burst of clean flavor is a relief. Jeff brings a quiet and simplicity to all his work, but also a beauty and spirituality.

He uses this quote by Lucy Maud Montgomery:
“It has always seemed to me, ever since early childhood, that, amid all the commonplaces of life, I was very near to a kingdom of ideal beauty. Between it and me hung only a thin veil. I could never draw it quite aside, but sometimes a wind fluttered it and I caught a glimpse of the enchanting realm beyond — only a glimpse — but those glimpses have always made life worth while.”

Statement for WINTERDEEP:
Light reaches our eyes and shows us what we see, but its journey does not end there. In a pulse of electricity the light travels further to our minds, swishing the fabric of our imagination along the way. What we see in front of ourselves is just a starting point. With our minds we can pick up a landscape and envision its every angle: its future, its past, its stories, and its ghosts.

For cultures living close to the land there is always a spiritual landscape within the visible one. Even modern city-dwellers know the feeling. Who has not seen dark omens in a storm cloud, or sensed freedom in a bird’s flight? In my travels to northern places I’ve always felt a strong mythical presence in the land. There is a dilemma for photography, though. The mythical landscape is not recorded by cameras. But it’s a place I am compelled to explore and to share.

To photograph my vision of the north I borrowed a page from novelists and created a world. Winterdeep is made of painted backdrops, sculpted ice, dye, customized toys, and a few other odds and ends. Digital magic circa 1995 provides visible breath and enhances the northern lights. I invite you to make Winterdeep a landscape for your own thoughts.