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Georgia Mountain Laurel Magazine

Eyes Looking Deeply

Oct 30, 2017 03:03PM ● By Tracy McCoy

A lone man walked the circuit of art for sale at the Painted Fern Festival held in July at the Clayton Civic Center. He stopped. His face narrowed, intent on searching the image in front of him. Pulled forward as if by a magnet, he stepped closer. He seemed to be looking deep within himself. His spirit stirred, his body and the place forgotten.

In front of him was a photograph by Terry Barnes, an award-winning photographer whose fine art images are reproduced with paint using inkjets, a method referred to as giclée.

In Terry’s work, mountains stand sure. Ranges vanish in great distances. Light arches from sky to earth. Clouds part. Cold, snow-covered landscapes are there, along with the warmth and reds of the sun.

Terry is told by his viewers that his art puts them in touch with something that would otherwise be missing from their lives. “Yes,” Terry says, “I hear that all the time. They look deep into my images and talk about how they have seen certain scenes like them but they don’t remember the feeling. The ever-changing landscape is very exciting to witness, especially through the lens of a camera. And mountains have always thrilled me, and photographing them gives me a real sense of spiritual connection.”

Terry sums it up this way: “Nature scenes speak to me in a way that soothes my soul.”

Carolyn and David Hill own a giclée photograph by Terry called “Skinny Dip Falls.” Carolyn described it this way, “The natural light and vibrant colors give me the sense of ‘being there’ – I’m almost certain I can hear the waterfall and feel the mist rising from the rocks.” David says each day he takes in the picture again, appreciating it for what is and isn’t there: no chaos, no human intrusion, only a peaceful, sylvan atmosphere.

This last month (September 2017), the U.S. has experienced nature’s destructive side: wildfires raged in Burbank, California and up and down the Pacific coast; extreme droughts affected Washington, Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming; and then one, then two, then three record-breaking hurricanes made landfall.

First, Harvey hit Houston. It terrified the nation with its scale and endurance. As much as 40-61 inches of rain fell. Then Irma. Irma was the storm that was going to take out Miami and Tampa – it didn’t – but the state’s population was forced to evacuate. Swaths of Florida and Georgia were without power. Lives were disrupted in a major way. Then Maria was the “two” of the one-two punch to the Caribbean. Maria has undone the footprint of man there. The Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, isolated within the ocean, have been destroyed. In all, people lost lives and loved ones, their ways of life permanently rewritten.

Eyes that look deep are pulled between these contrasting visions, one real, the other in Terry’s work. Should we not wonder at what is going on? We return to Terry’s images thankful that the natural world’s destructive forces are once again out of sight. Nature’s beauty captured, we are safe.

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