Nathan Wirth


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In his famous essay Nature, Emerson writes “To go into solitude, a man needs to retire as much from his chamber as from society.”

These words most certainly resonate with me when I am standing alone at a beach, on a hill, or by a lake, but they also come to mind when, in the early morning or evening, I am standing near a pier or a bridge in even the most populated urban environments. In those moments, I am often reminded of Wordsworth’s “Composed upon Westminster Bridge, September 3, 1802,” in which he looks at London from the Westminster bridge– the city bathed in the early morning sunrise— and remarks, “Dull would he be of soul who could pass by / A sight so touching in its majesty.” Wordsworth, in that moment, seems to have suddenly realized that even the city of London is filled with a sublime wonder when the sun touches the buildings just right. I think, more than anything, I am drawn to the wonder of the very fact of things, to the fact that things exist at all. The majority of my photographs are long exposures, which affords me the opportunity to gaze at that which I am photographing. Sometimes my mind wanders during those seconds and minutes— and other times I stare intently at the things I am photographing. For my self portraits, I have learned to stand as still as possible for up to several minutes – and during that time I often fix my gaze on the rhythms of the sea—its ebb and flow, its foamy insistence, its crash and roll— and sometimes I lose track of the fact that I am even taking a photograph.

I share these snippets of thoughts because I think they matter, in part, to what I am doing with my photography.

I often crave the silence and solitude that I find at these places, so much of what I do is a combination of the actual experience of being there and then later processing it to fit whatever vision I had in mind. In the end, I think I am just preserving slices of moments when I stopped to encounter the simple fact of existence through those things that are around all of us. [Official Website]

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