OM Times Magazine : Yarn Therapist interview with Chuck Sutherland (pg1)
OM Times Magazine : Yarn Therapist interview with Chuck Sutherland
Sometimes I do get to places just when God's ready to have somebody click the shutter"~Ansel Adams
The Cumberland Plateau is a landscape of wilderness and beauty. Nestled away, it covers land in middle and eastern Tennessee and into Kentucky and many parts of it still remain remote and wild. It is here, among this beautiful Southern landscape that we met Chuck Sutherland, a geographer, outdoor enthusiast and landscape photographer. Sutherland's photography stems from a very different origin than most other photographers as he uses his photos as tools to journal the places he has explored. His artful interpretations create beautiful portraits of the southern wilderness .
Sutherland's interest in photography began when his mother purchased a camera for him in high school. "I immediately took to using it as a way to express myself artistically" he recounts. Years later he has transitioned to digital media, the components of which are veryprominent in his pieces. In discussing his artful use of digital manipulations he says "Part of what I enjoy so much is teasing out what exists in the photo as data, but isn't visible." When asked about what he enjoys most about landscape photography he states "I have a horrible memory for when things happened, but I have an excellent mind for where things are at. The logical extension of that is that I can remember how to get to beautiful places, and I can use my photography as a diary to remember when I did it. " Sutherland says that hisphotography is a way to "take a place back" with him and enjoy it at his leisure.
His geography background plays a pivotal role in his work. "As a geographer, it's my job to know where things are." His background in the natural sciences gives him an appreciation of the landscapes he photographs. Being especially attached to the areas along the Plateau and the Eastern Highland Rim, Sutherland has experienced "stunning gorges, overlooks, boulders, rivers, waterfalls, cliffs, rock houses and natural arches." His enthusiasm for outdoors sports such as caving, climbing, backpacking and kayaking also play a role in his photographs and allowing him access to capture places that no one else may have photographed.
As much as he has a love for his work, Sutherland also realizes the responsibility that a landscape photographer must always be aware of. "It's not unheard of that a photographer increases traffic to a certain location and as a result, a place is vandalized or wildlife is damaged." He remains positive about the contributions his work creates in preserving what is becoming a rapidly changing, even vanishing landscape. "Photographers can (also) move people to conserve their natural heritage, mobilize people to clean up litter and dump sites and make a case to enact environmentally conscious legislation. " It is this idea that continues to feed his love of sharing his photography with the world.
You can find more of Chuck Sutherland's work at flickr.com/photos/chucksutherland
chucksutherland.blogspot.com/ and www.facebook.com/?ref=home#!/chucksutherlandphotography
He can be reached by email at:
Leila Howell Cook is a writer, fiber artist and activist who specializes in knit and crochet design. She uses her business as "The Yarn Therapist" to encourage others to pick up needles and hooks as a form of mental and physical therapy. She lives in Tennessee with her husband and five children.
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