The woods are close. They offer safety and solace amid fear. These photographs recall the lost time of of my childhood which was fraught with the extremes of maternal love, and sudden abandonment.
This project is an exploration of a very early childhood experience. My father died suddenly of polio when I was two. My mother raised me and my brother alone in the country in a house surrounded by vast woods. Memories of love and warmth with each evening’s bedtime story are woven with those horrible times when anger and grief overtook her. Cupboard doors would slam. Loud cries lashing out at the walls, and I thought, me. What did I do?
Tires squealing. Would she ever come back? Run, run away to the woods. Hide, wait and hope for safety to return.
Hiding out in the woods was my sanctuary. Reading Dr. Seuss brought magic and comfort. These photographs are meant to challenge ones sense of self as a child buffeted by these emotions. These memories are both raw and now muted by the vagaries of time and experience.
Don Harbison’s work explores landscapes, plants, and raw biographical emotions where he seeks to illustrate ambiguity, inner and outer spaces and inexplicably magical moments.
Harbison began exploring black and white photography with a ‘kitchen darkroom’, and on to building and working in darkrooms throughout his college and graduate studies. He studied under Nathan Lyons at the Visual Studies Workshop and George Eastman House, then went on to earn an MFA from Rochester Institute of Technology in photography, computer graphics and design.
Harbison built a successful career in the computer industry. He managed a computer graphics illustration and animation studio, consulted with Kodak on the early stages of the PhotoCD product and managed software products for collaboration and document management. He was also a Contributing Editor to the Computer Artist publication where he covered the nascent digital photography revolution when it emerged in the early 1990s. With the work world behind him Don has returned to his roots rekindling his passion for fine arts photography.
Harbison has exhibited at the Photoplace Gallery, Provincetown Art Association Museum, Whistler House Museum of Art, the Chelmsford Center for the Arts and the Chelmsford Art Society.