Closed, For the Moment



As America’s civil society erodes with terrifying speed and facts are re-cast as fake, it might seem trivial to dwell on nice pictures of nature. Or – just perhaps – reflecting on nature’s grand experiment now is more relevant than ever.

My own interest in and appreciation of nature’s ever-changing patterns deepens with the years. Our planet is an incredible laboratory of bio-chemical chance, evolution, and pattern – all in motion. These pictures attempt to evoke a personal view of nature’s fixed and shifting patterns of light and form.

I confess to photographic tendencies of a late 19th / early 20th Century Pictorialist, crafting soft-focus landscapes imbued with a certain romanticism, albeit made with my own processes, and with ample physical manipulation. I’m most comfortable with one foot in photography, one in painting, and a third in design and craft.

Landscapes in 4/3 time: Jazz is so interesting – any good tune has literally endless variations. I think its structure can be an apt metaphor for my perceptions of nature’s cool improvisation: an endless interplay of fixed and variable ingredients. Walking a forest’s shifting light, energy is syncopated with predictable and unexpected variables. A great tree’s awesome form bends in the wind. Leaves scatter in gorgeous patterns. Shadows shift and I walk in rhythm with a 4/3 camera to an upward swing and long exposure. If lucky, a good landscape is composed with the promise of art – and relevance.


Recent work continues a decades-long interest in constructing photo-generated pictures through movement, using combined studio processes. Pictures presented here are made utilizing an original method. Images are reverse-printed on acrylic sheets and painted. The surface is then sanded to a matt finish. The process of combining photography, painting, and craftsmanship is core to my work. Photographic images are made with hand-held Micro Four Thirds format cameras and lenses.


Dan Gottlieb was born in New York City and lives in Durham, NC. He studied art and biology as an undergraduate, and holds a Master’s in Art Administration. He was a cabinetmaker before beginning his long career as a museum designer. Since 1990, Dan has directed planning at the North Carolina Museum of Art and guided development of its Museum Park.