richard mark dobson
Path to Purgatorio

Statement
 
'In 2013 I decided to leave the frenetic traffic clogged flatland madness of Saigon, for the more subdued nature of Vung Tau, a nearby small coastal town abutting the South China sea and tucked up against forested hills.

For a year, I rented a room in a small hotel that faced the sea out front and behind ran a narrow lane that climbed gradually up and away from the ramshackle houses into a jungle clad bluff. The setting for my daily keep fit regimen, for after a brisk walk up the tarmacadam path that gave way to loose gravel eventually to a dirt track, and then finally a grassy ridge deep in the treeline, this tranquil and secluded spot afforded me wonderful views of the jade waters of the South China Sea and was the perfect setting for my yoga routine.

I began to walk this pathway daily both dawn and dusk, just 2 kilometers from bottom to top and back again, but I so relished the peace and quiet afforded at the high point of this short hike, I needed those two daily visits. For up there it felt heavenly, down below, noisy, chaotic. Dare I say, hellish!

As the days progressed I began to think of Dante's Purgatorio, and see the path, this short journey from top to bottom as visual allegory, not unlike Dante's seven terraces! Earthly paradise at the top, a kind of purgatory at the bottom. The more I walked the path the more it felt natural to think of it this way.

Certainly at the summit, it felt heavenly. The flame trees in blossom, the call of birds, butterflies on the wing mid morning, fireflies on the wing at dusk. Pristine, whimsical, untrammeled. Dare I say sublime. I could look around and imagine a world before mankind exerted his toll.

Then as I proceeded downhill, the first signs of mankind appeared just as the grassy path gave way to gravel. I would hear the bark of a dog, and then perhaps a little later the chime of a monk's gong well before I actually caught site of the Taoist temple set back in among the trees. Up here in the higher reaches it seemed humanity still held a certain reverence for nature. For the simple life.

As I descended further down, now to the gravel section of the path, things began to change. High walls erected. Golden ornate gates locked. Man claiming ownership of the land? Barring entry. Asserting his assumption that what he contains, he owns. Litter began to infuse the grasses and hedgerows. Yet further still, discarded syringes in the tree line, suggesting heroine addiction. Further down idle human banter! Giggles, guffaws, staccato voices, shouts, cries, screams. Finally at the base of the hill I would be shaken back into the 21st century by the rumble of traffic and blaze of neon lights. Alas man in giddy mode. Reveling in artificial lights. Concrete. Temptation. Gluttony. Animals caged for entertainment. Covetous indulgence. Overkill. Destruction'.

I realize re-reading this statement above that my intentions are only partly fulfilled both in these words and the idea and images can be construed as simplistic. Possibly simplistic is apt and relevant. I simply walked the path with a camera, allowed linearity, from summer to winter and back again, up and down the hill, back and forth, (and visited just one or two locations away from the path to give me the chance to shoot one or two important narrative pictures such as the monkey in a cage or fenced deer) and through mere observation developed the series of images which I hope seen collectively here will resonate. Resonate aesthetically. Resonate emotively. Resonate incompletely.

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SIZES AND PRICE

EXTRA LARGE  (2AO)
162.0cm x 110.0cm Paper Size
142.00cm x 90.0cm Image Size
Edition of 3 + 1 AP
US$1,800.00

LARGE (A0)
140cm x 100cm x paper size
120cm x 80cm image size
Edition 5 + 1 AP
US$1,300.00

MEDIUM (A1)
101.3cm x 74.1cm paper size
81.3cm x 54.1cm image size
Edition 5 + 1 AP
US$1,000.00

SMALL (A2)
76cm x 56cm paper size
60cm x 40cm image size
Edition 5 + 1 AP
US$850.00

EXTRA SMALL (A3)
42cm x 32cm paper size
30cm x 20cm image size
Edition 5 + 1 AP
US$499.00

EXTRA LARGE  (2AO)
162.0cm x 110.0cm Paper Size
142.00cm x 90.0cm Image Size
Edition of 3 + 1 AP
US$1,800.00

LARGE (A0)
140cm x 100cm x paper size
120cm x 80cm image size
Edition 5 + 1 AP
US$1,300.00

MEDIUM (A1)
101.3cm x 74.1cm paper size
81.3cm x 54.1cm image size
Edition 5 + 1 AP
US$1,000.00

SMALL (A2)
76cm x 56cm paper size
60cm x 40cm image size
Edition 5 + 1 AP
US$850.00

EXTRA SMALL (A3)
42cm x 32cm paper size
30cm x 20cm image size
Edition 5 + 1 AP
US$499.00

2 TYPES OF PAPER (for more information see the Print Type LINK)

-Hahnemuhle:
Originating from Germany and coupled with a rich heritage, Hahnemühle as a brand has been making premium fine art paper since 1584.

Semi Gloss
Photo Silk Baryta 310gs

Matt
PhotoRag BrightWhite 310gsm

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