March 23 - May 3, 2006
Some photographers believe their strongest work comes from exploring their
immediate surroundings. "I think of myself as a regional photographer,"
Loranc says, "but that does not mean the photography cannot be understood
beyond the region. Right now people all over the United States indicate to
me that regionalism, born of an informed attachment, has universal appeal."
Loranc shoots most of his pictures within an hour’s drive of his home in
Modesto, California, but he is also interested in exploring his ancestral
roots in Europe. For this reason he makes occasional photographic forays
into Poland and Lithuania.
"I’m fascinated by the ancient churches of my homeland," he says. "These are
holy spaces where millions of people have prayed for hundreds of years. They
are places of great humility, and remind us how brief our lives are. I feel
the same way when I’m photographing ancient groves of native oaks in
California. I was unconscious of this when I began, but upon reflection, I
think the oaks are just as sacred as the old cathedrals of Europe. They are
sacred in that they have survived for so many years. I’m aware that the
native people of California held all living things as divine. For me a grove
of Valley Oaks is as sacred as any church in Europe."
"I think about how interconnected the world is," Loranc says. "When I’m out
on a crisp winter’s morning, shooting a stand of native oaks, I see oak
galls hanging from the trees. These were once used to make the pyrogallol
chemicals I use to develop my negatives. So the oak trees I am photographing
played a part in the developer I use to process my negatives of those trees.
It is healthy to remember that we are often linked to the natural world in
ways we don't even suspect."
Loranc shapes the photo from start to finish. He operates a 4x5 Linhof field
camera, shoots the majority of his photographs with a 210mm Nikkor lens,
using Kodak's classic Tri-X film, and hand prints his negatives on
multigrade fiber paper. The innate drama of the landscapes is reproduced
through a variable split-toning (sepia and selenium) technique. All the
printing, spotting, and archival mounting are done by the photographer.
Roman Loranc was born in Bielsko-Biala, Poland, in 1956. He emigrated to the
United States in 1981. In 1984 he moved to California, and shortly
thereafter fell in love with the Central Valley.