Peter Merts Statement

Artist Statement
I use photography to explore the unknown – or rather my own unknown. Not to discover new things, but to rediscover the old. For I believe that a scene or image affects us to the extent that it reminds us of something we already know — setting off that gasping intake of breath and striking a deep and visceral plangency of reconciliation with some lost knowledge or ineffable truth.

I relish these little shifts, these reorientations, and my current work in the landscape affords me yet another opportunity for this experience. Consider that odd transition between lost and found, found and lost. Occasionally while wandering in nature I become physically lost – a predicament not entirely unwelcome or necessarily accidental, for being lost contributes a bit of adventure and provides a certain edgy thrill — especially around dusk. But more to the point, it sets up that abrupt and astonishing reality-shift that occurs when, after mile upon mile of utter novelty, a vaguely familiar landmark appears like a déjà vu — and then another… and another — and suddenly the scene snaps smartly into a memory-Gestalt and I’m back in the known.

Process Statement
This portfolio was made on slow-speed medium-format and 4x5-inch film, using a tripod.

These prints have a warm brown-black tone; they are made on Epson printers to archival standards.

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