Far more than historical documents of the wine industry, Lee’s photographs preserve what some would refer to as ‘the sacredness of the moment,’ the often blissful communion of nature and conviviality in the vineyard and the land surrounding it.
The photographs show the poignancy of looking back to an intensely felt moment no matter how ephemeral that time may have been.
To me, the achingly beautiful black-and-white images that I am allowed to feature here evoke unsettling emotions similar to those triggered by artistic cemetery photography. But instead of showing the past and the story behind the stones in the graveyard, they conceptualise a moment in the eternal and eternally joyous life in the vineyard. Some images feel brittle and angelic, others seem to immortalise the vine’s suffering in granite and make it look statutorily grand.
Lee’s pictures are oases of tranquility in this sometimes chaotic world. They are places and spaces in Earth’s welcoming bosom of rolling hills and plains where tired travellers like me finally find the peace and solitude they seek.
About Lee Tomkow
Lee Tomkow is a globetrotter who has visited – camera in hand and eye close to the viewfinder – countries as diverse as Russia, Egypt, India, China as well as the continents North America and Europe including tiny Malta. More recently Lee is actively involved in the Santa Barbara wine industry which he showcases through a varied palette of media such as photography and the Web – when he isn’t busy touring vineyards or sharing a glass of wine in tasting rooms with winemakers and wine enthusiasts.