Larry Schwarm

This image is from a longtime project of photographing controlled agricultural burning in the middle United States. In the fires’ subtleties and abstractions, I have found spirituality akin to what Mark Rothko expressed in his color-field paintings. These qualities, both quiet and other-worldly, form what I see as the sublime and mystical character of the burning landscape, where images are at once both sensuous and menacing.

Since ancient times, fire has been considered to be one of the four elements, along with earth, air and water. In every culture fire is symbolic. It is good and evil, soothing and terrifying, protection and threat, destruction and rebirth. It heats our homes and it can destroy our homes. It has a connection our collective unconscious.