Through the lens of the camera, Cole Rise contemplates his place in the Universe. Driving across the country in search of awe inspiring landscapes revered for their sheer enormity and history on earth, the methodology behind Rise’s photographic practice requires a perspective that looks within and beyond. While the subjects of his photographs seem ancient relative to man’s brief existence on earth, whether it’s a storm brewing above South Lake Tahoe or an ash drenched mountain side that seems to levitate in the dense fog above, these places are but a speck in the creation of the Universe when considered through a wider lens.
Explorations with Space reimagines the landscape as a traditional subject. Unlike traditional landscape portraiture that captures a static view of the world, Explorations are visceral studies of objects that happened to captured at the precise moment the lens was exposed to the environment. Thus the photographs are evidence of the wonder inherent in existence. Rise explains that the Explorations with Space series is an experiment in symmetry between the very big and the very small,” says Rise. “Space is a source of inspiration and the landscapes themselves are very beautiful, but there’s also this history to the landscape of which we are a very small part of.” Each location explored in the series is presented through a wide lens that gives one the sense that they are all alone in the world, thus the emptiness in the composition allows the location to be considered as a microcosm for everything else.
“Light traveled thousands of years and millions of miles to hit my sensor.”
While the scale of the destinations that Rise travels to seem uncontrollable, as the weather creates a constant change, they are each guided by a symmetry derived from the stars. “The stars that I use in the photos are long exposure photos that are captured over thirty seconds in the middle-night,” he explains. “That light traveled thousands of years and millions of miles and hit my sensor in that thirty second window that the shutter was open.” What often appears as dust from the lens is actually the presence of celestial bodies, refracted in a chance-meeting between the cosmos and the photographer’s lens. Having recently earned his pilot’s license, Cole Rise is looking above to continue the Explorations with Space series and fly among the stars.