I initially visited Carleton with no particular aims, hoping pictures would reveal themselves naturally. My photography examines ways people deliberately shape and experience the environment. This commission invited me to do that within the wide confines of a college campus.
I was surprised to take so many sport-related pictures. I find the enigmatic to be compelling, and since I am not an athlete the many fields and games struck me as oddly Other. I also found mystery in the evolving stick structure that I named the Fairy Den in the Lower Arb, rock arrangements like the labyrinth on Stewsie Island, and a stone circle in the Upper Arb. Bell Field is easily the most magical place on campus. Comparing its sloping richness to the Bald Spot shows me why the latter is nearly impossible to photograph. This central location is named and defined by absence, and photography is by nature a medium of presence.
Like the Bald Spot, the Lyman Lakes are central to college life yet difficult to photograph. My close-up picture focuses on murky water and barrier-wire. I am sure that these reveal vexing problems to a Carleton viewer, but I loved the spot for its texture. Semi-cultivated spaces like the Lakes unify the natural and built elements of the Carleton landscape.
Beth Dow: Photographs | Biographical Sketch