Stephen Von Worley


My mind works in telephoto. When examining a scene, I reflexively drill inward, searching for a small fragment with which to fill my photograph. By the wide-angle tenets of traditional landscape art, I’m an anomaly. So, as a nod to the logical extreme, I acquired a sturdy tripod and supertelephoto lens, then set out to explore earth and sky at magnifications beyond the limits of human vision.

Each of the Telescopics spans no more than two degrees of visual field: a tiny sliver of the overall scene that, arm fully extended, you could have completely hidden behind your thumbnail.

An ultra-narrow view dilutes the visual power of distance. Receding lines resist convergence, and far-flung objects retain much of the size of their closer counterparts. The sun and moon, little more than specks in most conventional photographs, emerge as major players.

At first glance, the supertelephoto scenic often appears to be “shopped”, an implausible composite of several photographs, each sampled, resized, and layered together to taste. Many viewers reflexively question such imagery, and when assured of its authenticity, they are forced to reexamine their perceptions of vision and truth. This, perhaps, is Telescopics’ greatest virtue.

Telescopics is a ongoing series of supertelephoto studies.