Kingston-based photographer Andrew Moore creates richly hued images that recall Hudson Valley school painters like Thomas Cole and Frederic Church. "I am particularly fond of Asher Durand for his attentiveness to detail. There's no way I could make pictures in the Hudson Valley without acknowledging these antecedents. The challenge is to make landscapes that feel modern and relevant," he says.
Whiskey Point, East Kingston takes its title from an old map of Kingston and refers to the spit of land seen in the image. "If you look carefully, you can see remnants and ruins of old docks and piers left over from the days when that area was lined with brickmaking factories. Those bricks were loaded directly onto barges that brought them down to the city," says Moore. "The 'natural' landscape is actually second growth, since most of the ground was completely cleared for industrial purposes. The area is now a state park named Sojourner Truth State Park after the famous resident who was born in Esopus. So, the image reflects the past, the present, and the future."
Moore's photography combines both the narrative approach found in photojournalism as well as the formal strategies of fine art photography and painting. He finesses his images with sprezzatura (studied carelessness) and invites viewers to enter the world of the photograph, find hidden details and feel a depth of space, which is enhanced by the gigantic scale of his prints—nearly six by eight feet in this case.
There's a meta aspect to Whiskey Point, East Kingston—notice the photographer and tripod by the water's edge. "Although I rarely take self-portraits, this is a kind of self-portrait, albeit a portrait of the photographer as a young man. It's also obviously an homage to classical landscape painting, from the 17th-century Dutch painters to the American luminists of the 19th century, where little mortals are portrayed against majestic shorelines," he says. "It's a photograph that employs all the strategies of realistic painting but is also a photograph of a photographer. What is the photographer photographing and what is he not seeing at the same time? There's also a nod to the pandemic era and of all these people going out into nature and making pictures."
Moore's work will be on view as part of a show called "Whiskey Point and Other Tales" at Yancey Richardson Gallery in Manhattan through January 6. The exhibition consists of seven large prints drawn from photographs Moore made over the past three-and-a-half years. "It's a very tight selection in which all the images are in dialogue with one another and present a landscape which has been activated in some way," he says. "I'm hoping that people will be able to view the pictures at the gallery, as these photographs were conceived from the onset to be finished, and seen as very large prints. That goes for me too, as this exhibition will be the first time I've been able to look at all these pictures together in one space."