“Aura”, near O’Keefe’s Studio, Abiquiu, NM
Archival pigment ink photograph
16″ x 20″
More about Kirk Gittings
I have always found the greatest sense of presence in abandoned or unpopulated places. This feeling of “presence” comes upon me even in places that have no obvious visual evidence of past or current human occupation. It is a great irony to me that places which feel so desperately lonely are also where I feel the most alive.
Perhaps that feeling comes from my extensive study of Southwestern archeology. The evidence of man is everywhere if you know where to look-virtually all Southwestern landscapes are actually “cultural” landscapes, that is they are not “natural” but modified by the hand of man.
Where ever I travel in the landscape I find evidence of man-sometimes structures or petroglyphs but sometimes something as little as small stone flakes the size of the nail on my little finger from prehistoric tool making. I would notice these on the ground between my tripod legs as I waited for some elusive dramatic light over some spectacular view.
I find high promontories the perfect loci for contemplating the long history and uniqueness of a place. Like the center of a Chaco spiral petroglyph, such places draw me inexorably into their center to ponder and photograph.
All of my photographs come from similarly profound moments in similar places of historic significance.