Chicago Wilderness and Beyond
Photographs by Ray Mathis
On Display: January 9, 2009 – March 4, 2009
Artist Reception – January 23, 2009 5-7pm
Fermilab Art Gallery, Wilson Hall
"As a teen, I set a goal to never miss a sunrise or sunset. I've stuck to that goal for over forty years. The vast majority of my images are the product of rising long before sunrise, or staying out until after sunset.
There's rarely anyone else around. It's usually too early, too cold, too hot, too buggy, or too late for most people. It's like the words from that old Three Dog Night song "Out in the Country". "I stand alone, and take back something worth remembering". And I always see even more than I ever capture on film.
As John Denver so eloquently put it in "Rocky Mountain High", "Now he walks in quiet solitude, the forest and the streams, seeking Grace in every step he takes". And though I'm not an overtly religious person, being out in the natural world and seeking out and then finding Nature's Masterpieces is often as if I "talk to God and listen to his casual reply".
I sincerely hope that viewing my images will motivate you to seek out similar experiences for yourself. Take a camera if you have one, and someone else to share the experience with if you can. But above all else, go!
And once you've experience the same kind of special moments I've captured in my images, I hope you will then be motivated to join those of us who not only seek to explore and enjoy, but more importantly protect, preserve and share what remains of the natural world around us.
We've all become relatively disconnected from the natural world as urban sprawl spreads around us and consumes one natural landscape after another. I have to push myself sometimes. I do it with the words from the "All Star" song, "You'll never know if you don't go…get your game on, go play".
If you still find it a struggle to rise before sunrise, or to make the effort to get to some of the special places nature offers, all I can say with my images is "Look what you've been missing".
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