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11 December 2019

An Empirical and Ephemeral Landscape of Mysterious Beauty

11 December 2019 - Written by Lucia De Stefani

In Sleep Creek, photographer duo Dylan Hausthor and Paul Guilmoth explore the remote recesses of nature and the mind as they came to life during their stay on Peaks Island in Casco Bay.

© Dylan Hausthor Paul Guilmoth, from the series Sleep Creek

The genesis of Sleep Creek coincides with the onset of a cohabitation, as photographers Dylan Hausthor and Paul Guilmoth settled into a cold lodging on remote Peaks Island in Casco Bay, Maine.

Soon the images began to borrow the island’s topography, as they were devoid of distinct boundaries of space and time, other than hazy frames as those suggested by advancing and receding tides. In this manner, Sleep Creek evades beginnings and endings, perpetually adding to the imagery of a dreamlike realm, only branching out as Hausthor and Guilmoth prepared to leave the island. Its completion, then, resides in the namesake book - published by Void, an independent publishing house in Athens - with a narrative advancing loosely and gracefully.

© Dylan Hausthor Paul Guilmoth, from the series Sleep Creek

In this intimate collaboration, different threads weave through the surroundings—“this area of New England, densely wooded, pretty isolated, embedded in our psyche”— enchanting the duo and inspiring a performative style of expression, as Hausthor explains, that results in more conceptual images.

The work brings together lyrical storytelling with the exploration of mythology in nature, how they co-exist in a fictional and nonfictional discourse, quickly blurring into a nebulousness where the photographs, as tangible symbols of ephemeral moments, amplify memories and find a life of their own.

Experience and artistic approach, however, sometimes diverge. For Guilmoth, the use of a flash exposes nocturnal mysteries, unveiling the unknown, while for Hausthor, it quickly leads to the realm of abstraction, freezing alien particles in a moment, the light perpetuatingan immaterial distance.

© Dylan Hausthor Paul Guilmoth, from the series Sleep Creek

In concert, they explore personal and emotional states, at once soliciting inquiries and answers. “The camera is a way to ask a question about many things for me,” Guilmoth says, “the place, what the place has inherited as far as memories, stories, and feelings. I was trying not to find answers but to at least prod at them, hence, let them show through. Like the ghost of the landscape.”

In Sleep Creek’s evolution, the artists’ physical and emotional distance deepen, and the island, always a factual backdrop, becomes figurative scenery, evoking a mood that overflows into their future quests. “After a while, we weren’t trying to literally document the island, or the people in that sense,” Guilmoth says. “The island became sort of an inspiration, a place of the mind.”

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Dylan Hausthor and Paul Guilmoth are two photographers based in New England. Guilmoth's practice primarily focuses on photographic and bookmaking art, while Hausthor’s work is an hybrid act rendering field recordings into myth. They are the co-founders of the publication studio Wilt Press. Follow them on PHmuseum and Instagram.

Lucia De Stefani is a multimedia reporter focusing on photography, illustration, culture, and everything teens. She lives between New York and Italy. Find her on Twitter and Instagram.

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This article is part of the series New Generation, a monthly column written by Lucia De Stefani, focusing on the most interesting emerging talents in our community.

Written by

Lucia De Stefani


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