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Scott Hess : Photographs

Photographs of Mt. Shasta.Scott Hess is a commercial and arts photographer living in the north San Francisco Bay area-southern Sonoma County, a place he has always felt to be home.  He was born in upstate New York, and his family has lived on Cape Cod for years.  Hess feels comfortable with San Francisco 45 minutes to the south and the wilder lands, rivers, coast, and big trees directly to the west and north.  "This place," he says, "is obviously synchronized with the realities of my soul."

Scott Hess's photographic switch was clicked on in the course of a trip to Europe in the summer of 1966, following a year at Indiana University where he was getting his "Midwest experience" and pursuing a degree in political science.  He was swept up in the counterculture of the day and and figured he wanted to be a revolutionary or an artist/photographer.  The stimulation of rich European cultures turned on the latter aspect.  He traveled with his best high school and early college friend, Thomas Krens, now the director of the Guggenheim Museums.  Hess and Krens took their experiences with a serious relish, and the consciousness of art was central.  After that trip, photography was always a big factor in Hess's thinking and vision.  In 1970, he became drawn to Eastern philosophies, spirituality, mysticism, and-of course-India.  He traveled to India, found a teacher, and practiced meditation and a simple, monastic lifestyle-which he lived in various configurations until 1984.  This was a "big chunk of time," during which his predominant drives were not photography but rather seeking the "higher" states by inner concentration and above all "letting go" in the context of his teacher and the communities that constellated around his teacher in various parts of the country.

In 1984 Hess began moving back into the larger world, and immediately began photography again.  He bought another camera, and began walking the streets of Miami and Miami Beach, where he was then living.  He photographed people, street scenes, and odd things that caught his eye.  He sold his photographs to Miami (South Florida) magazine.  The magazine's editors liked his work and wrote a good recommendation for him when he "felt the call" and moved back to Northern California, where he had lived and come to love before traveling to India 14 years earlier.

Over the last 16 years, Hess has become "bioregionally implanted" in the north San Francisco Bay area culture and landscape.  He has married, divorced, and become a father there.  He continually photographed the life surrounding him in Petaluma, Sonoma County, and beyond.  He has chosen to forget about the art world, forget about "career," and center himself in the awareness of his immediate environment and his reaction to it.  "That means I am paying attention to the ecology, politics, and culture of the area, and am participating in all of it," he says.  Art and photography work very well together with ecological activism, as his photographs portray.

In 1993, his marriage dissolved and he retreated north to Mount Shasta for one year to process the transition.  He needed "Nature Power" to bring him through.  "Shasta," he says, "is awesome in its splendor and almost mystical formation.  It commands enormous space.  It triggers exalted feelings and perceptions."  It is during that stay that he made the photographs in this ARTerrain gallery.

Scott Hess Photography is located at 100 Union Street, Petaluma, California 94952.  Mailing address is P.O. Box 2921, Petaluma, California 94953.  Telephone is 707.765.0580.  Scott Hess specializes in unique photography for business and pleasure, in color or black and white, including commercial, portrait, editorial, architectural, and art.

Ten Mt. Shasta Area Photographs by Scott Hess

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All images in this
ARTerrain Gallery are copyright © by Scott Hess. All rights reserved. No work may be used or reproduced without express written consent of the artist.



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