Roman Loranc – Artist Statement
When I first came to California, I became acquainted with the Merced National Wildlife Refuge in the Central Valley. Efforts were then being made to restore the wetlands that had once been prolific in that area but were being diminished at an alarming pace. Through my photography, I joined the conservation efforts to save these natural and wild places. I want to share my artistic vision with others to increase awareness of these pristine landscapes, which are precious resources meriting preservation.
Among the places dearest to my heart are marshlands and wetlands, where tules and reeds take up residence and thrive in silence. Here I have an opportunity to pause, and join in the simple rhythms of nature, free of the shackles of everyday life. I hope that viewers will recognize the effort I have made to capture both the simplicity and complexity of this subject matter. True, each is a seemingly simple image. However, as one looks closer each image pulls you in, beckoning an examination of life and its meaning.
Tules and reeds silently exist in the shallow waters of marshes, muddy shores and lakes. This quietude is an elixir, both personally and professionally. To attempt to capture the essence of this setting is a challenge. All too often we find ourselves in the midst of the chaos of our daily lives: chasing deadlines, attending meetings, suffering traffic, and the like. And often these things are accompanied by noise, both audible and inaudible, as our minds spin. In my effort to escape these realities, I seek quiet places, away from distractions, and in doing so have found relaxation for my mind, as well as interesting subject matter for my photography. When I venture into these places, I saturate myself in the solitude. The price of admission is small: surrendering to the environment. It is my pleasure to pay the toll and commence my work.
My first task upon encountering an interesting subject is to understand how best to capture what I see, such that it can be rendered faithfully through film into a print. There is much to be considered. How will the light impact the image? How about the breeze, the cloud cover, the stillness of the waters, the temperature, the season, the stage of life of the tule or reed? Is this the best time of day to make the photograph? If not, is this the best opportunity available given the multitude of variables? Will there ever be another opportunity? I work my way through these questions, relying on decades of experience and experimentation as a self-taught artist. I endeavor to best figure out how to frame the vision and work through the technical aspects of successfully photographing what I see.
As a non-native English speaker, I found early upon my arrival in the United States in 1982 that I could often express myself better through my photography than with spoken words. Art speaks in a universal language, assuming it speaks to the viewer at all. Of course, that language is subject to interpretation, it can mean one thing to me, another to you, and many other things to many other people. For my part, I try to let the image speak to me, and do not compose my photographs other than to frame the subject. Photography is the hard labor of seeing!
While I love to photograph the majesty of mountains and wide-open spaces, I delight even more in trying to capture the magnificence of ordinary objects such as tules and reeds. Reminiscent of my days as a young boy in Poland with camera in hand, I can block out all other matters and get lost in my pursuit of the perfect image. Tules and reeds with their hypnotic swaying of stems and reflective shadows dancing on the waters, always hold my attention.