The lady and the lake

Greg Corradini

C”When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.”
– John Muir

Craig Blacklock can make landscape photography synonymous with the word “nude.”

The son of Minnesota nature photographer Les Blacklock, Craig Blacklock’s work documents the splendor of natural landscapes like his father before him.

While his early work explored everything from national parks to Minnesota wildlife, in 1996 he began to experiment with his natural subject matter, mixing it with human forms.

The Minnesota Center for Photography now offers a retrospective of Blacklock’s work. The exhibit depicts Blacklock’s progression toward his riskier work in which his wife appears as a naked apparition in the

Superior landscape.

The earliest images in the exhibit are close-up shots investigating the crags of crystalline rock and ice flows. Often these shots take on the abstractedness and texture of paintings as in “Plate 60, 1992,” a surface shot of a rock’s spackled color scheme.

But the largest and most daring portions of the exhibit are dedicated to “A Voice Within – Lake Superior Nudes.”

A naked woman trespasses in these natural landscapes. She is sprawled on beaches or hiding in granite outcrops. The nude model featured in these photographs is Honey Blacklock, the photographer’s wife.

Many of these photos find parts of Honey Blacklock’s body – feet, torso, legs – tangled among driftwood or languid on smooth sandstone.

Although some of these photographs seem to force and superimpose the nude Honey Blacklock into the landscape, the most gripping show her naked body in contrast to the surroundings.

“Plate 65, 1998” captures the ruins of a charred pine forest. Among the coal-black columns, the model stands a fair and timid fawn.

In “Plate 105, 2000,” Honey Blacklocks’s body, all smooth orbs and contours, lies prostrate among sheathes of ice that look like shards of glass Lake Superior has sloughed off in spring.

In a Pioneer Press interview, Craig Blacklock said he was aiming to find “a new language to work with” in his nudes.

The images in “A Vision Within” show Craig Blacklock’s effective advancement in his landscape shots.