Lincoln Schatz: Daily Conversations with Nature


Lincoln Schatz


The Lake Series

In September of 2015, artist Lincoln Schatz began photographing Lake Michigan every day in morning or evening. His back to the city of Chicago, he stands on the lake’s shore and shoots with a medium-format camera, capturing the water stretching away from him to the horizon line. Seven years later, the project continues, a serial photographic exploration of the landscape of the lake.


Jewel tones on the lake this morning.


Green marbled waters ripple smoothly under clouds that hang in the sky.


A foggy spring day softens the contours of Lake Michigan.


The clouds are parting over the rippling waters, their softness contrasts with the surface of the lake.


Banks of clouds sit in the sky over the lake. The waters move restlessly underneath them.


Spring storms have been frequent this year.


The cold waters shimmer in the early morning light. A gray day that glitters, the sun is just out of frame.


Late in the day, the sky and waters shift from warm to cool tones, repeating over and over again.


Dawn. Sky and water sit in stillness. The colors mirror one another.


Calm lake waters return, reflecting a muted palette from the sky above.


A high-contrast morning on Lake Michigan. Where the sun strikes the horizon, a blade of white light cleaves sky from water.


Joshua Tree

Joshua Tree National Park is located three hours east of Los Angeles on the southern edge of the Mojave Desert and astride the San Andreas Fault. Hundreds of fault lines and six mountain ranges converge, including Little San Bernardino, Cottonwood, Pinto, Hexie, Eagle, and Coxcomb Mountains. The landscape is imbued with a mystical quality that is at once empty and abundant, a timeless place where past, present, and future seem interchangeable. Standing alone out in the desert, all is cloaked in silence.


A winter storm appears out of nowhere, bringing strong winds and snow. We try to outrun the storm by heading south, but it follows us.


As soon as the storm appears, it vanishes, leaving no trace.


Thousands of years ago, lakes, swamps, and rivers covered this region; lush grasslands supported mammoths, mastodons, horses, camels, and bison. The Pinto Culture was the first group of human beings known to inhabit it; later came the Serrano, the Chemehuevi, and the Cahuilla.


There is nothing to soften or obscure the intersection between the land and air. The light saturates everything evenly.


Seismic activity defines this landscape as well. Rock formations jut from the earth. Touching the sky. Standing like sentinels.


The sense of scale in a place like this—wide-open expanses that disorient and confuse, stretching as far as you can see.


Water and wind carve this rock. A deep geological time is exposed in its contours, difficult to comprehend even when standing before it.


Lincoln Schatz

Lincoln Schatz is a contemporary artist and environmentalist living in Chicago. His photography, video, and new media works are driven by chance and memory. He uses custom-built software to employ generative compositional strategies in order to explore his subjects over an extended period of time. Schatz has dedicated the last six years to nature photography: Lake Michigan for the Lake Series, the redwood forests of California and Oregon, and the deserts and mountains of the United States. His works have been exhibited internationally at venues that include the Smithsonian Institution’s National Portrait Gallery (Washington, DC), bitforms gallery (NY; Seoul), Sundance Film Festival (Utah), Catharine Clark Gallery (San Francisco), and the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego.

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