In order to create the giant tapestry that was the centerpiece of Goshka Macuga: It Broke from Within, the artist, curator Bart Ryan, and I (staff photographer Cameron Wittig) headed up north to the Lost 40 to shoot the forest scene. Being an avid traveler of the state, I was excited and perplexed to learn of this mysterious new locale. Imagine – information about my own backyard found a circuitous way to me via a London-based, Polish-born, contemporary artist-in-residence at the Walker. After getting to know Goshka on this trip, I quickly realized it was a testament to her depth of vision and ability to investigate the surroundings of a scene. It is this skill that contributed to her earning a nomination for the Turner Prize.
The little known story of the Lost 40 is one of those all-too-good-to-be-true mishaps, complete with characters named Josiah trudging through marshy forests with floppy hats and suspenders. Who knows what really went down out there on that day in 1882. Perhaps they ran short of tobacco and decided to get back to Grand Rapids early. X-ing out 40 acres in a few seconds enabled them to cut a few hours off the work day in a pencil stroke. maybe there were inter-personal disagreements among the surveyors. Maybe they were just not very good at their job.
Whatever the reason, luckily we still have the trees. It gave us an opportunity to get away from the studio and into the north woods.
Dinner at the Eagle Nest Lodge, Deer River MN
It was hunting season so our registrar Joe King was absolutely emphatic that we had to wear bright orange caps while we were out in the woods shooting. Goshka took it a step further by going orange head to toe.
Here is the composited photo that was used for the tapestry:
It was comprised of 6-7 shots taken with a Leaf Aptus II 7 (33 megapixel per capture) on a Hasselbald ELD with a 65mm lens. And stitched together using the photomerge function in Photoshop.
And here is the completed tapestry installed in the Burnet gallery:
Click here to read more about the creation of the tapestry.
Click here to read more about the project and related publication.