Dwayne Martineau is a visual artist, photographer, and musician living in the tiny woods of Mill Creek; sometimes inside a camera obscura. He plays music in a red shirt with the band Jeff Stuart and The Hearts. Dwayne is happiest beside a dog, in a canoe, behind a Hawaiian steel guitar, or in an aspen grove. He dislikes quicksand, and loves his parents.
ONE DEAD TREE is one branch of a life-long series of experimental landscape photography.
My focus is on the familiar and the humble: trees, weeds, bugs, seeds, detritus. By playing with glass, water, film, time, perspective, and scale, I try to create straight-out-of-camera real-light images that reveal the magic of the material world.
Trees have presented a particular challenge for me. I’ve spent years, and thousands of frames of film and pixels, trying to understand them and express what they mean to me. They are half-hidden and ancient; fragile and indestructible; friends and monsters.
I use various methods to introduce symmetries into my photographs. By creating symmetry, an animistic response is triggered. We recognize the familiar bilateral pattern of humans and animals, and we ascribe a soul— an intent— to inanimate objects.
For this project, I started with two large-format black-and-white film negatives— two different photos of one dead tree. I stacked the negatives in a homemade light box, and used a digital macro lens to explore the scene until symmetries and stories emerged.
Since these are constructed symmetries, this process is one of discovery and self-projection. At the time, my perception was being filtered by intense feelings about the imminent death of a close friend. Where I would normally seek majesty, I was finding fear, decay, and confused beauty.