United States, North America
11 x 14
Long-term Loan from the Estate of Boris Blick, 2015
Robert A. Farmer, American.
A man sits in a white t-shirt facing a mountain range accompanied by a bed of white clouds. He stares out at Mt. Colden, a peak in Keene, New York. The image, depicted in a sepia tone, captures a moment of peace and reflection. The photograph seems to evoke a moment in time, a sentimental revisiting of the past. Facing nature, we wonder what this man could be thinking about. The date is unknown though it is speculated that the photo was taken during the 1950s. Nature seems to be the main focus of this piece. The vast mountain range collides into the clouds. The photograph is almost painterly in its composition.
Mount Colden is one of the highest mountain peaks in the Adirondack Mountains of New York. There are two climbing trails on Mount Holden. This makes us wonder why a man is resting there alone. He seems to contemplate something. We wonder about the relationship between the subject and the photographer. Why do we only get to see the figure’s back? Is this the artist’s way of emphasizing the nature? It must have taken the photographer and his subject some time to get there. Documentation is an important aspect of photography, and here the artist clearly wanted to preserve the moment and perhaps the effort that it took to arrive at this spot.
The image also produces a sense of anxiety. Though his pose may appear peaceful, and there are no storms looming on the horizon, there is a frightening openness to the landscape that complicates the meaning. Man appears small in comparison to the vast American environment. This photograph evokes a fear of the grandiose, the idea that the world is so big and its inhabitants are merely specks. The faded quality of the photograph may allude to its older age. Perhaps this is a photograph from a family album. Perhaps it was tucked into a travel journal or diary. Wherever it may have come from, there was a reason it was protected and preserved.
—Charlotte Lee ('18)