Photography by Don Guy, forward by Gretel Ehrlich. This book is the result of a photographic journey from where the shoreline meets the sea. The unifying factor in the images is a smooth spherical sea tumbled stone from a remote Maine Island that became the catalyst for a unique chronicle of visual inquiry.
DON GUY is a renowned internation- al Director/Cinematographer, an Academy Award Nominee for Documentary Short Subject, recipient of several advertising Clios, the Cannes Lion Awards, and has two films in the permanent collection of the Mu- seum of Modern Art in New York. During his 30-year career he was a principal and ex- ecutive director of two successful commer- cial film businesses based between New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco, with prestigious global clients from numerous Fortune 500 companies. Don transitioned into college academia undertaking cinema courses in theory and production. He im- parts deep professional experience to help mentor students and convey pragmatic skills by integrating passions for cinematography, world cinema, Documentary film, and find- ing creative voice. The work in this book is the culmination of a parallel passion for still photography in which the one unifying fac- tor is this sea tumbled stone from a remote Maine Island that became the catalyst for a unique global chronicle of visual inquiry.
FOREWORD Gretel Ehrlich
I hold in my hand a round piece of granite the size of a mel- lon. It’s heavy and coarse, not a machined orb like a rubber ball, but a piece of Earth’s molten mantle whose travels and transformations have been so extreme and volatile as to make our human peregrinations and conflicts seem tame, and our myopic sense of stability somewhat absurd.
This rock started as fire and traveled from the very bottom of the Earth to near the top, from Antarctica to Swan’s Island, Maine, a mere speck itself, south- east of Burnt Cove and Gooseberry Island, a small ellipsoid-shaped bit of granite scoured by moving glaciers and hurled into the sea. My hand is just the right size to hold this white-cold unpolished sun. I turn it over and over. It’s surface is speckled and pocked. The pink crystals are feldspars, the white marks are quartz, the black spots are hornblende, but it began as molten magma that rose from the center of the Earth.
Up it came, so hot it melted Earth’s crust, itself a kind of granite. What resulted is called “magma mingling,” a kind of geological sex in which the hottest mafic granite intrud- ed into the cooler crustal granite, crystallizing and pillow- ing out into ellipsoid-shaped forms with contrasting col- ors---pink, black, gray, forming a 1.5 billion year old floor.
This rock started as fire and traveled from the very bottom of the Earth.
A rock is not a bird with magnetic devises to direct it across continents and oceans; but every rock on earth has traveled. Swan’s Island is part of a large sliver of rocks extending along the northeastern sea- board from Connecticut to Newfoundland and all the way to the west coast of Ireland and England, known to geologists as part of the Avalon Terrane. Sev- en hundred million years ago Avalonia was a group of
volcanic islands lying off the supercontinent, Gonwandaland at 60 degrees Lat. South. Vol- canic eruptions broke Avalonia apart: the is- lands drifted and collided with other continents.
Three hundred and seventy million years ago it collided with Pangaea. The crushed edg- es of the two formed a long chain of mountains which, in turn, broke up, its pieces drifting apart to form the modern Atlantic Ocean, just as North Amer- ica began moving northward where we find it now.
Rock and roll. This lump of granite moved longitudinally up and up. Then glaciers drove over it, eroding and fractur- ing the huge granite block from which it came, breaking off edges, humping and polishing its surface, dredging it out of U-shaped valleys and pushing it toward the sea. Conti- nental glaciers rode over Maine’s granite bedrock several times during the Pleistocene. Then, twenty-five thousand years ago the Laurentide ice sheet spread over all of New England covering Mt. Katadin and scraping the North
American floor until it gleamed.
When ice moves it throws erratics - huge boulders- -
onto the fenders of moraines. Retreating ice leaves col- onies of rocks, scattered in long lines, indicating the di- rection of the glaciers’ travels. Which valley did this rock come from? How far did it have to go before reaching the ocean? How many cycles of silt and depositions, ice advances and retreats, and hurricanes did it witness?
When ice moves it throws 34 erratics - huge boulders - onto
the fenders of moraines.
I hold the rock. It speaks of molten memories, of burning and cooling, of being smoothed by ice then pushed to water’s edge where it lay on a slab rolling back and forth, the tidal movements wearing down what remained of its sharp spurs until it lay cradled in
pine needles and yellow leaves after an autumn storm. Snow lodged against it, with the almost unbear- able tenderness of white flakes touching its coarse skin. Sun bleached it. Rain settled in its tiny openings.
Our earth is only a piece of granite that drifted and stuck and will move again.
How deep do we have to go to understand our origins, whatever fictions and truths they contain: atom, black hole, dark skin, blue eyes, nothingness. We find our- selves living on an arbitrary latitude, resting on a continent bordered by mountains and rivers, oceans and island, a seemingly fixed landscape though we know our earth is only a piece of granite that drifted and stuck and will move again. With it, this round rock, perched on my French writing desk, whose journey from tree to plank across a
was almost as precarious, will fall from the odd sym- metry of having ending up at almost the same lati- tude as Swan’s Island, and go who knows where? Whose pocked-moon will it be then, with its mineral speckles, its cold granitic skin, its heaviness, as it falls through the night. What pain of exile will it feel, what spinning misery and injured songs will emanate from it as it careens, which skull-bowl will it inhabit, knock- ing through bone, bouncing down the granite terrace where I once walked in moonlight, grinding away its own richness, falling from basin to basin, some wa- ter-filled, some dry, off a mist-cliff onto another continen- tal shelf facing a different ocean, its long story hidden.
A rock is not a bird with magnetic devises to direct it across continents and oceans.
I hold the rock at night. It’s gray flecked skin shines.
Millions of years ago it was liquid; what was I? It rose with no light from the unoccupied territory of the neth- er-world: WAY under deep ocean vents and the roots of the world’s highest mountains, below human complaint, withering forests, and collapsing ice sheets, its trajec- tory from Lat. 60 degrees S. to mid-coast Maine, and now to Wyoming spanning more years than we have words for, more violence than we humans have made.
I hold this gray fist in my fist and try to feel how it punched through earth’s crust, how it bent, blew, broke, and rolled. I try to hear its millenniums of movement, rolling heavy as thunder, chattering rock upon rock, then spinning down a smooth granite slope to wa- ter’s edge where all misery will be scrubbed away by regular tides until summer sun thins into the flat blank of winter which will hide it and hold it until spring.
THE JOURNEY BEGINS Don Guy On a remote Island off the coast of Maine the tum- bled stones that were cast up from the Atlantic Ocean fascinated me. Each had it’s own geological story locked in, and then polished smooth by the relentless pounding of the waves and it’s sea bed journey. How inexplicable it was to discover a cove containing such symmetry, each stone rolled over and over until round was no longer an adjective. I filled the bottom of my dory with unique se- lections. Rowing away I had this odd sensation that in fact I was moving something sacred out of place, that these stones all had some intrinsic consignment, and it was not their destiny to become oddities in a world framed by the human dimension. Years later I would be rowing back to spread the ashes of my Parents. They descended from the chilly surface like iridescent fish scales settling in the seams where the tumbled stones touched. In time one very symmetrical stone, with uni- form tonality became an object of my speculation.
What if I turned inside out the idea of bringing back mementos of travel? What if I extracted a pho- tographic response by taking this stone on the jour- ney and its interaction with the environment, the mere fact of displacement became the transforming experi- ence. Thus began a photographic exploration, in which the one unifying factor would be this tumbled stone as a catalyst for a unique chronicle of visual inquiry. This sea tumbled stone unifies my passion for photogra- phy with the appeal of telling stories. It is an experiential process where the primary element remains seemly the same but in fact is always altered by the context in which is observed. The stone represents an unspoken exchange; a moment of human or environmental transaction in which words are transcended and the instant is memorialized as the subject and the photographer are converged by this unifying catalyst. Thus the stone becomes my journey of encounter and reveals its story one moment at a time.
the kernel of an idea
nature as supreme artist
architecture to landscape