My concept, my goal, has been to use the desert as a painter uses a virgin white canvas; and while traveling through different deserts of the world (from Russia to Egypt, Mauritania, Oman to the USA, etc. I sought to discover what imagery was revealed to my eye — sometimes it was figurative, sometimes abstract.
Allowing my eye to wander freely, keeping my mind empty, without pre-conception, lights and shadows transformed a seemingly neutral valley into the body of a young woman trying to emerge from the sands. In another desert, the moving sun would gradually transform a small valley into a beautiful bird.
In still another desert, from inside the small puddle of the dried salt lake appears a man staring at us resembling a figure from Dante’s Inferno and I, like the painter in front of his canvas, with my small Leica, 35mm lens and Ilford film, attempt to capture this image and the soul buried within.
I attempt to find the symbiosis between the landscape before me and the imagery buried within me. I do not seek the image rather the photograph finds me. Through this subliminal search the result is, hopefully, my photograph, my “canvas” is an expression of my inner being, of what I feel as an artist.
John R. Pepper, Paris, 2017