Thomas Kohler


“It is the role of objects to restore silence”

I photograph to create boundaries. At one time my photographs constrained the exhaled breath of urban living: a dedicated pause to admire scenes of tranquil absence that served as a sort of rural respite in the surrounding metropolitan landscape. The genre of “quiet” photography has been explored, yet the objectivity of these images point to the physical interaction between viewer and scene, highlighting the individual’s role as the judicator of ‘silence.’ The placement of the frame served as a way to mimic the urbanites’ choice to focus— to decide what to think about— and to consider life in the city as being capable of containing moments of punctuated, contemplative silence. Later, the content of my photographs changed. I began to photograph the scenes that inspired the need for rural respite. The culture that would envelop the stories of Twain or the canvases of Benton reentered my life. Inspired by this history, I continued to document more moments of silence in a transition away from the city images. Photographs of the wide expanses of farmland, quaint small towns, and bucolic barns—markers of the area’s history— began to suggest a new, different, sort of silence.