Batchelder produced the series between 2010 and 2015, along the tidal zones of this little island near Charleston, on the east coast of the US, holding the camera by hand and pointing it downwards towards the sand.
On the shifting surfaces of the shoreline, as the seawater drains away, the wind dries the sand, and each of Batchelder’s images captures the unique configuration of abstract shapes and colours that remain.
“Poetic and scientific” as described by David Campany in the introduction to the book, Batchelder crafts a typology of intriguing close-ups of these landscapes into surreal and intricate compositions.
“My ability to see has grown because I have been able to make and see many thousands of photographs, nearly two thousand proof prints and 1200 finished prints,”Batchelder explains to Campany in the introduction to the book. “My vision has grown as a result. I see so many interesting things in the sand now that were there before, but beyond my vision.”
Although his photographs become abstracts works, as Batchelder himself suggests we might also discover alternative visions within the images. As our brains search for meaning, something familiar might be seen in an image where it does not exist – also known as the psychological phenomenon of pareidolia (relating to both visual and aural stimulus, for example, faces or animals in clouds or the Rorschach inkblot psychological test).
“Nature’s abstractness, typified by beaches and rocks tends to provoke us to great extremes of reaction: the universal or the particular; the sacred or the profane; the precious or the pointless; the significant or the meaning less; the lofty or the low,” Campany writes.
“It has something to do with the involuntary rush, the intuitive projection we make upon both nature and what seems abstract. It seduces our unconscious wishes into revealing themselves. Is it possible to look at these images without seeing something in them?” he continues.
A beautiful large format edition of Tideland by David Batchelder is available from Schilt Publishing, £50