The Rothko Series began by pure serendipity: I was in the right place at the right time. I was shooting a panorama on the Savannah River when suddenly my field of view went black. I looked up instantly to see a 900-foot container ship just 30 feet away. I started shooting instinctively …almost “without thinking.” Later as I reviewed my day’s work I realized I was shooting Rothko-esque compositions: gut reactions to the color-blocking of the moment.
Thus, Rothko Series 1 is reactionary: the “blink moment” of creation.
I was now inspired to follow my muse and started planning my shots. I knew my inspiration. Now I worked to find it again.
Rothko Series 2 is deliberate.
As I continued evolving in the Series I worked out a number of photographically technical aspects to achieve my vision. Often I feel that my memory of an event, of an emotion, is more of a blur than a clear crisp—tack sharp image, like “remembering a dream.” My vision for the images in Series 3 was to incorporate the feeling of motion of these massive ships, but in a way that evokes memory of the emotion vs. literal references—the “clues” to the mass-in-motion. I wanted the viewer to “remember what they thought they had seen.”
Rothko Series 3 is contemplative, imbuing the emotion of memory.
My vision, the Rothko Series theme if you will, continued to evolve by incorporating more precision, like Series 2, more deliberateness, like Series 3’s dream memories but with a suggestive reliability. Now I knew exactly “the nail” I wanted and its elusive head was the magic my hammer sought. And I found that magic in the Series’ ouroboros, the self-reflexivity or cyclicality of life: all things come (around) to those who wait.
Rothko Series 4 is recursive.
Series 5 picks up where Series 3 left off but with explicit inclusion of the meat of the matter: OMG THESE ARE CONTAINER SHIPS!
They are immense. Their silence is deafening.
Rothko Series 5 is explicit.