It's strange how something so subtle can make such a powerful impact. Ever since I first discovered Eliot Porter's work in this book, I never looked at the ground the same way again. Porter was an absolute master at finding the most beautiful, intricate patterns and details in the middle of a giant forest, or field. These weren't big bold landscapes with vibrant colors, but rather quiet moments that draw a viewer in to take a deeper look.
Not everyone gets Porter, with many wondering what the big deal is. Of course, the same is true with Picasso too. The late photographer Galen Rowell wrote about this with an interesting passage, "Going to Extremes" in his book. He overheard a group of photographers asking what all the fuss was about after seeing a slideshow of Porter's work. Rowell comments that, "Subtleties are carefully orchestrated so that viewers remain unaware of how intentional they really are." He continues, "He was an absolute stickler for detail from conception in his mind's eye to perfection in his handmade dye transfers or color separations."
For me, Porter has opened up a new reality. There is beauty beneath our feet but only if we can learn how to see it.