Photographs by Jonathan L. Clark
Gulf Variations, a sequence of large-scale color photographs made between 2016 and 2018, grew out of Clark's interest in the interplay between the man-made and natural worlds. The images depict a condominium tower reflected in the waters of a secluded bayou on Florida’s Gulf Coast. Over several years, he returned to the same spot, documenting the building’s mirrored image as it shifted with the light of day, movement of water, and the occasional curious alligatorIn these photographs, the astonishingly blue Florida sky is mirrored at times with perfect clarity; towards evening the building’s walls are transformed by the setting sun into pink marble or liquid gold. Any disturbance to the water’s surface is magnified by expanding and intersecting ripples, creating momentary patterns. The resident alligator would sometimes rise from her lair at the end of the bayou and swim over to watch me work, spiraling across the pool, before losing interest and sinking languidly out of sight.The resulting photographs, diversely abstract and contemplative, plumb the ambiguous beauty of the reflected image. For me, the interplay of substance and reflection becomes a dialogue with nature, offering transient and ever-changing metaphors of reality that the camera alone can capture and preserve..