Victor Schrager: Into the Woods

To make photographs for his recent series, Into the Woods, Victor Schrager—known for his studio-based and still life work—took his wooden, large-format film camera out of doors to suggest how our experiences in and understanding of nature are influenced by images of the natural world. In earlier projects, he worked with a gardener to capture the variety and beauty of heirloom tomatoes and made elegant, if unsettling, photographs of birds held in the hands of ornithologists. For this project, Schrager took a different and more conceptual approach: he selected and then pinned up reproductions–including historic images referencing the sciences–on trees. Experimenting with focus and blur, he made photographs that transformed wooded scenes into walk-through collages that hint at dream states as much as they suggest environmental awareness. Portraits of Charles Darwin and Robert Crumb’s iconic 1960s counterculture character, Mr. Natural, intermingle. So do images of a waterfall, zebra, the sun, a Philip Guston drawing, and the bookshelf of photographic pioneer Henry Fox Talbot, upon which volumes about philosophy, science, and the arts rest and–like Schrager’s pictures themselves–suggest interconnection.