About Douglas A. Yates
Douglas A. Yates’ history in photography is layered with the Kodak Brownie, service as a military photographer, freelancing in the wedding and entertainment fields, and editorial documentation in Alaska, China, and Mexico.
More recently, he began to make images near his home in Alaska. The intricacies of patterned ground, textures, ice, and the play of light on the flood plain fueled his imagination. While iconic landscapes vie for attention—glacial peaks, rivers of ice, some calving into picturesque fiords—his eye engages geographies at his feet.
Originating in the boreal forest, his imagery features morphology and processes that are seldom seen yet part of the web that supports the whole. The images of this ARTerrain gallery owe their existence to the vagaries of erosion and deposition, freeze and thaw.
Yates’ principal interests coincide in the passage of Ice and water on the landscape. His aim is to create photographs that convey a fragile otherness, aesthetic perspectives that reset impressions of the natural world. A function of fractal geometry’s self-similarity across scales, some images appear as miniature versions of the whole. In oscillation between near and far, a porosity is enabled, opening fresh encounters with the natural world.
Visual beauty discovered afield, absent the works of man, promotes affinities that support nature’s web, a growing priority in coming years of doing more with less. If ice disappears in the north, water will likely soon follow. Tracking both ice and water and the intaglio incised on surfaces is a meditation of wonder, one that verifies an underlying unity in water and wild places.
Much of the work here originates in central Alaska, a place where the formation and decay of ice offers excellent conditions for observation. A brief season of open water tattoos floodplain islands with a wild calligraphy. Its glacial-fed torsions etch fine grain soils in turbulent iterations, marking water’s passage with extravagant gestures. The images condense meaning, parsing significance and value from the commons. The viewer’s effort comes with an incentive: ordinary becomes extraordinary.
Among the qualities guiding this survey: ephemeral, outlier, fluid, metaphor, transparent, and chimerical. Yates says, “I believe the results add to a dialogue about human enterprise and the planet’s ability to sustain it.” Amplifying calls for stewardship, the work collaborates with the best of future outcomes. Exposing deeper realms of what may be at risk, the images are expressions of value in situ.
Selections from the work presented here are in the collections of Alaska’s public and private fine art museums. One of the images was recently chosen for the cover of Fading Light, a collaborative publication featuring the intersection of writing and photography.
ARTerrain Gallery by Douglas A. Yates
All images in this gallery copyright Douglas A. Yates; images may not be copied or otherwise used without express written consent of the artist. Click image to view in larger size or to begin slideshow: