Darrell Roak’s series, Noble Waterfalls, is a reflection and meditation on the forces of nature, power of water and grace and beauty found in the dark stillness of the forest.
Finding solace in the depths of the forest, Roak’s connection to the power of water and rock, carving new paths, is captured in these long exposure landscape studies. In his artist statement he talks of “the rumble that resonates through the bedrock, the mist that permeates the atmosphere and the ethereal beauty of its flowing water contrasting with the ledge, which it has, over centuries, taken dominance and ownership cutting its distinctive path”
All beautifully captured, and printed as platinum/palladium prints. The softness of the surface creates the pictorialist mood set by the deep shadows and rich blacks of the prints.
We asked Darrell about his series and the ideas behind it.
Which of these images was the impetus for this series?
If there is one photo, it is Jailer Falls, which didn’t make the cut but is included as one of the website photos. This was one of the first photos I captured on film. I had repelled down a 30-foot ledge with my gear to a fishing hole I remembered from my childhood. The resultant photo was well worth the struggle.
How did it inform how you completed the series?
This waterfall is not accessible or well known to anyone but local residents; in fact, my folks weren’t aware of it. I became aware that Mother Nature has placed her works of beauty all about. This led me to print some of the many waterfalls I have photographed.
I had been dabbling with alt-process for a while; ziatype, cyanotype, platinum/palladium… Entering into this Atelier session (my fifth), I was determined that my exhibition photos would be alt-process; my instinct led me toward cyanotype. Although I liked some of the blue images, once I printed one with platinum/palladium my course was plotted. This also helped in the ultimate title of the series, “Noble Waterfalls”. Noble for the majesty of Mother Nature’s works and Noble for the metals used for printing; Platinum and Palladium.
What do you hope we as viewers take away from viewing your work?
When I photograph, I have a vision of what I want to show my audience, basically an ethereal presentation of the real-world subject. It is always a great pleasure to have my audience members to reflect my vision.
How the Atelier has helped you hone your vision as an artist?
As I mentioned earlier, this has been my fifth Atelier session. I get reinforcement of the basic class materials but this isn’t the greatest benefit. For me, the peer development is the magic. I have been dropped into groups of individually minded photographers and have exited amongst societies of bonded artists. Over 16 weeks, we have molded each other and each other’s art into fine gems worthy of lifelong memories and appreciations.
Tell us what is next for you creatively.
Hopefully, my current plans won’t be foiled by Covid-19. But, I am planning to visit and photograph the Stave-Churches of Norway. These are mid-evil churches built as the Roman Catholics moved across Europe and Scandinavia. Of great interest to me are the mingling of Pagan an Christian carvings as well as the unique Stave architecture. Ultimately, this portfolio will lead to an exhibition and/or a book.
About Darrell Roak –
Darrell Roak is a photographer whose nature is to bring an ethereal appearance to his photographs. Darrell began his photographic journey in 2010 when he took his first workshop at Maine Media. He has since expanded his experience through workshops across The United States. Darrell has been an Artist in Residence at Light Grey Art Camp in Western Norway and he has attended a printing residency at Cone Edition Press in Vermont. Among his contemporary advisors are Tillman Crane and Russell Young.
The subjects of Darrell’s photos lean toward abandoned structures and out-of-the-way spots, which remind one of days gone by. He uses an assortment of cameras to capture his photographs including digital, large-format and pinhole. His photos are printed using the Piezography digital process as well as Alternative Processes: Cyanotype, Ziatype and Platinum/Palladium.
Darrell’s photographs have been exhibited at Carnegie Visual Arts Center in Decatur, Alabama, Photo Place Gallery and Vermont Center for Photography in Vermont, and The Griffin Museum of Photography in Winchester, Massachusetts. Darrell’s images are also included in personal collections throughout The United States.