Daniel Buckley, Photographer
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“I need a bigger box.” – Daniel Buckley
For better than 30 years, Daniel Buckley has been photographing the world around him.
As the second decade of the 21st century began, still photography began to take more of a place alongside his video and musical work. The desert landscape around his adopted hometown of Tucson, Arizona became a place of visual and artistic discovery.
Frustrated by “the box” that is a photographic frame, Buckley looked for ways to stretch the canvas and help his audience see more of the world as it is. In 2010 he began using Adobe Photoshop to stitch together vertical slices of imagery to create broad and large panoramas of the desert landscape. If printed full size, some would measure 9 feet by 46 feet.
The panoramic photo is a throwback to Buckley’s days as a student of the geology of the moon. When Apollo astronauts visited the lunar surface they took sequential photos of the horizon, later stitched together by NASA technicians. Buckley saw the desert southwest as a landscape similar to the moon, and his panoramic series finds its roots in those Apollo images from the late 1960s and early ’70s.
Several years into the new process Buckley feels he’s still in his infancy with the technique, even as he builds an ever larger body of work. There are photographic and software permutations to go through in a methodical way to determine what techniques work best under differing conditions.
And there are new opportunities as well and questions to answer. How does the landscape photography technique apply to photography of architecture, portraits, and the human body? What does returning to a particular landscape over time tell you about human development, biologic and geologic process? How can photography impact the way we see our evolving planet, and this particular Sonoran Desert slice.
Often simultaneously, Buckley is shooting time lapse video, compressing the time to see clouds move and evolve and shadows travel across the landscape. In conjunction with the still imagery panorama work, Buckley is uncovering new vistas in time and space. And recently Buckley has begun musically scoring the time lapse video works, and manipulating the imagery. A new extension of the Prevailing Westerlies musical series is starting up, this time with a visual component.
FOR BEST RESULTS, PRESS THE YOUTUBE SYMBOL, ENLARGE THE VIEWER AND SET THE SETTINGS TO THE HIGHEST RATE YOUR INTERNET CONNECTION WILL HANDLE.
His adopted state of Arizona, where Buckley has lived since 1971, has been his prime source of inspiration, with some spillover into the surrounding western states. The rugged beauty of the deserts and the vast, endless skies of the west, coupled with the drama of the summer rains form the nucleus of his work. Musicians, dancers, artists, historians, scientists and everyday people of the state are another common thread in his work.
In 2014 Buckley was named Artist of the Year at the Arizona Governor’s Arts Awards for his work as a composer, photographer, video artist, film maker and writer.
Several ongoing photographic series have emmerged in recent years. The first, “Esta Es Mi Ciudad (This is my city)” explores the city of Tucson, its landmarks and architecture, artists and ordinary folks. “Sky River and the Moon People” focuses on the sky and desert landscape of the Sonoran Desert and its iconic Saguaro cacti, and occaionally includes models as well. More work continues to be added to the landscape panorama series, now augmented by panoramic shots of architecture, large scape artworks and the human form.
In the late winter of 2014 Buckley began a new hybrid series called, “Bewilderness.” “Bewilderness” is a collaborative series conducted with a broad range of Tucson models. Intended to have a humorous component, the series will create panoramic wilderness images with something peculiar going on – something odd to the setting. It might be a nude, or someone dressed completely inappropriately to the environment (i.e. Roller Derby girls on skates in the middle of the desert), or someone doing something odd that catches the eye. The human element is determined by the model.
2014 also saw Buckley working as a still photographer with the Arizona Historical Society to document that organization’s 150 most important artifacts for AHS’ 150th anniversary. Among the artifacts shot for that project were Geronimo’s rifle, Wyatt Earp’s wedding ring, swords and leather armor from the days of the Spanish conquistadors, and a reconstructed AT-6 airplane of the type used by American pilots to train members of Britain’s Royal Air Force.
By early 2015 Bewilderness had generated a new surreal series of layered single-frame images.
Buckley’s still photography in 2015 has been dominated by the documentation of the youth mariachi and folklorico world for his documentary film, “The Mariachi Miracle.” But there has also been a contunuation of his experimental work, as well as his landscapes.
The summer of 2015 afforded opprtunities to shoot wild fires, lightning, and monsoon storms and to develop process-based extended shoots to study ow the sky and land interact over time. Landscapes of the northern Arizona Sedona/Oak Creek red rocks region were phtographed. It’s also been an opportunity as well to again explore the beauty of grayscale (B&W) photography in examing the familiar and the unusual.
Photography started as a hobby in high school. But in the 1980s, as Buckley began going the extra step in his photography, creating collages that involved drawing on the photos to create computer-like “maps” of his subject matter and the changing light that revealed it.
“It was a way of seeing the world as a scientist might,” says Buckley, who had studied to be a geologist originally himself. A crashed Mayflower truck stuck in an underpass, a steel deck bridge in his hometown of Catskill, N.Y., and a variety of portraits of artist friends all became fodder for this treatment in which he would section off areas of equal light and color using a fine tip marker.
Then as now, the desert landscape and the sky above became subjects of his work in the 1980s. He photographed the night glow and billowing canopy of smoke as a necklace of fire swept Pusch Ridge on Tucson’s Santa Catalina Mountains. He shot a comet over the craggy rocks and saguaro cacti of the city of Tucson’s evolving edge.
During his years as a writer and multimedia manger with the Tucson Citizen (1987-2009) he shot landmarks of the city, the mariachi and folklorico musical scenes, as well as all manner of musical events and artists.
Throughout his decades of photography, Buckley has been devoted to documenting things temporal and eternal, evolving his ideas and skills with the environments and subjects his lens captures. “In all media, my work is about time, space and circumstance,” Buckley says.
For more details go to Buckley’s resume at http://www.danielbuckleyarts.com/home/bios/arts-resume/
See Daniel Buckley’s Press and Media Links at http://www.danielbuckleyarts.com/2015/10/daniel-buckley-in-the-media/