…..Lou Reed sang the song; now he has gone back to the wilderness.
The archteypal New York heroin rocker,Reed,together with his wife, performance artist Laurie Anderson, has bought land in upstate New York. She has taken up farming, and he is into nature photography.
A show of Lou Reed’s photos opened last month in Wichita Falls.
Reed, 67, former lead singer of the Velvet Underground, has rediscovered the ethereal, ephemeral beauty of nature in his photographs, but with a kind of avant garde sensibility.
“This is the first time he’s taken his camera outside of the city,” said Cohn Drennan, director of the Wichita Falls Museum of Art at Midwestern State University, where the exhibition opened Jan. 22.
Titled “Romanticism,”Lou Reed takes on a romantic view of pastoral settings in black and white photographs. And, like the Romantic Movement from the 18th and 19th centuries, his aim is to express the beauty of nature.
In one of his photos, a tree, grand and enormous, canopies the grassy expanse below it while the sun glows eerily in the background. In another, a pair of trees frames a scene of fellow trees seemingly marching down, down, down, to a curved horizon.
In these works, Reed’s photographs shine with a strange, unnatural glow, almost as if it’s the moon shining its light on these scenes, giving the works kind of an unearthly, spacey feel.
He took the photos of these landscapes and architectural motifs during his travels to Scotland, Denmark, Big Sur and other locales. They were taken with a digital camera Reed adapted to “see” in the infrared zone, and it’s that technique that gives the works their otherworldliness.
Reed says of the photos in this exhibit, “The colors and light I come to see through the beauty of the camera. A love that lasts forever is the love of the lens of sharpness – of spirit, warmth and depth and feeling. It makes my body pour emotion into the heartbeat of the world. A great trade and exchange. I think of the camera as my soul. Much like a guitar. My lovely Alpha has rosewood grips. What more could you need?”
After leaving The Velvets in the 1970s, Reed found success as a solo artist, and is best known outside The Velvet Underground for his ’70s hit “Walk on the Wild Side.”
“Romanticism” can be viewed through March 20 at Wichita Falls Museum of Art, 2 Eureka Circle.