Imagine Illinois: Art reflects the landscape and the people
It’s not an easy beauty. Rather, it resides in nuance, in the steady cycle of the seasons, the certain chronology of renewal, the sure relationship of people with the land. The beauty of the Midwest, Larry Kanfer believes, must be experienced across time. But his challenge, over the past two decades and more, has been to convert these subtleties into two dimensions, to convey through photographic composition emotions embedded in the landscape. “Here is beauty as small as this dirt clod. Or as subtle as the completely flat, shaved field that apparently has nothing there but it’s beautiful because there’s something beyond the superficial.” For Kanfer that something is the people who worked the earth, generation to generation. They aren’t visible so much as implied. “I see,” he says, “what people have created.” And what he sees pulls the imagination into the frame. “I want the viewer to put themselves in that spot. I believe everyone can imagine sitting on a porch watching time go by.” Kanfer’s most recent book of photographs, On Firm Ground, was published this year by the University of Illinois Press. Some of the images in that book appear on the following pages.
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of December 2001