Local artist David King Rowe IV offers an analog look at local vistas that reveal a hint of the uncanny. Big Sur, Morro Bay, and the stretch of highway that connects them are common sites of photographic interest, yet here their familiarity only heightens their strangeness.
Largely shot with black and white film, the series captures native scenes with a kind of foreign sensibility, turning them into meditations on light, space, shadow, and texture. Rowe, in a recent interview, said he hoped to further explore this effect in a series he referred to as “Downfall of the Archetype.” “It takes very simple subject matter, and the perspective, when it’s altered, creates a very almost black hole-esque feel,” he said. “You look at it, and it’s so simple that you start associating it with things. You take a symbol like water, and…you just ream it with the self, whatever you as an individual interpret it as; not a sociological interpretation".
Rowe is entirely self-taught. He’s learned from observing the work of masters (he cites 19th century American modernists like Alfred Stieglitz, Paul Strand, and Edward Weston as influences), as well as trial and error. Rowe attended Cal Poly for one year as an environmental management major, but quickly became “burnt out,” he said, with both his field of study and with school in general, preferring to spend his time documenting the natural world. He switched from digital to film photography a few years ago. He went on, explaining that the analog approach afforded a deeper connection with the imagery. Rowe now shoots with a large-format and a medium-format camera, as well as the occasional 35mm camera on his photographic adventures.
~Anna Weltner- New Times, San Luis Obispo