I saw this Simon Norfolk's work in the National Gallery when we went on the DC art field trip! Since then, I've looked more into his specific work that caught my eye: The Lewis Glacier, Mt. Kenya, 1963 is a part of a series of prints done by Norfolk where he took long exposures of himself carrying a torch across the landscape surrounding Mt. Kenya to outline the receding boundaries of the Lewis Glacier. In his Stratographs series, Norfolk sought to map “time’s thickness” by capturing careful images of his fire walks.
1963 depicts the rocky and snowy mountainous landscape surrounding Mt. Kenya. A line of fire snakes from the right of the page to the left and back around to the right insinuating movement. The flames appear to float above the ground, and the fiery line showcases the jagged contours of the terrain with the wild white-orange streaks contrasted against the dark gray of the rocks. Three red structures of varying sizes, lying in different planes, appear in a row at the bottom half of the print. The first structure is a house or a shed. The second is larger with glowing windows and comes across as a cozy home, and the third is a simple box shape. These red blocks of color organized asymmetrically contribute to the stratified nature of the scene and also promote balance and continuity. The whole scape is in focus, and the colors are vibrant. 1963 has strong s-composition that drags the eye from the sharp, white mountain tops down to focus on the prominent red building, along the line of fire, and off the page onto the next print in the series. Norfolk’s visually compelling Stratograph prints can stand alone, but when placed adjacent to one another they produce an even more powerful statement about man’s impact on the Earth as he walks its expansive surface.