Simply stated, Nathan Wirth attempts to photograph silence.
A Much Longer Bio
Using a variety of techniques– including long exposure, infrared, intentional camera movement and the occasional dip into compositing– Nathan Wirth seeks to express his unending wonder for the fundamental fact of existence. In his work, he attempts to photograph the silence he believes can still be experienced in our ever-increasing world of auditory and visual noise. Nathan, who was born and raised in San Francisco, earned both his Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts in English Literature from San Francisco State University and brings a deep appreciation of poetry to his explorations of place (especially the sea).
Poets such as George Oppen, Gary Snyder, Seamus Heaney, Michael Longley, Robert Frost, Elizabeth Bishop, Mary Oliver, Lorine Niedecker, and George Mackay Brown have played a fundamental role in shaping his attention to the things and places that he photographs. Often returning to the same locations many times, Nathan seeks to explore the silence and the sublimity of those places. In addition to poetry, Nathan is profoundly influenced by the paintings of Morris Graves, Caspar David Friedrich, Edward Hopper, Mark Rothko, and Camille Pissarro, the photography of Michael Kenna, Edward Weston, and Wright Morris, and the cinema of Andrei Tarkovsky, Theo Angelopoulos, Terrence Malick, Kenji Mizoguchi, Akira Kurosawa, and Ingmar Bergman.
For the past decade, Nathan has been studying and integrating into his work Japanese traditions of Zen, rock gardens, ma, and calligraphy– as well as the transience, impermanence, and imperfections of wabi-sabi. Nathan’s studies of Zen calligraphy and Zen writings have led him to the practice of trying to achieve, while working on his photography, a mind of no-mind (mu-shin no shin), a mind not preoccupied with emotions and thought, one that can, as freely as possible, simply create.
Nathan also complements his photography by gardening and studying and practicing the art of Ikebana (specifically the Sogetsu School of Ikebana).
Nathan also curates and edits, slices of silence, an online place to read and view conversations about photography.
Nathan, after living in San Francisco for the first 44 years of his life, moved to Marin County in 2010 and currently makes his living teaching English Composition at City College of San Francisco.
- 2021 — Group Show – Toby’s Art Gallery, Point Reyes Station, CA – December 4, 2021 – December 27, 2021
- 2020 — Solo Show – The Book Passage Art Gallery, Corte Madera, CA – Nov 1, 2019 – January 31, 2020
- 2019 — Napa County Fair, Napa, CA. Aug 7, 2019 – Aug 11, 2019 (4 images)
- 2019 — Marin County Fair, San Rafael, CA. July 3-July 7, 2019 (14 images)
- 2018 — Solo Show – The Sound of Trees, The Great Highway Gallery, San Francisco, CA Nov 17, 2018 – Nov 30, 2018
- 2018 — Marin County Fair, San Rafael, CA. June 30-July 4, 2018 (8 images)
- 2017 — Marin County Fair, San Rafael, CA. June 30-July 4, 2017 (13 images)
- 2017 — Group Show – Wanderlust Exhibition, Dickerman Prints, San Francisco, CA June – 2017
- 2017 — Group Show – B&W Minimalism Magazine Photography Exhibition, Center for Contemporary Creations, Isfahan, Iran – May 26, 2017 – June 20, 2017
- 2017 — Group Show B&W Minimalism Magazine Photography Exhibition, Yadegaran Art Gallery, Kerman, Iran – February 17-24, 2017 (4 images)
- 2016 — Group Show – International Symposium for Contemplative Studies, San Diego, CA – November 10-13, 2016 (Exhibited with Matthieu Ricard)
- 2015 — Solo Show – Stone Altars (book release and solo show), The Great Highway Gallery, San Francisco, CA September 19, 2015 – October 17, 2015
- 2015 — Marin County Fair, San Rafael, CA, July 1-5, 2015 (6 images).
- 2015 — Group Show – Golden Camera Awards Exhibition. Kyiv Photography School, Kiev, Ukraine, March 31-April 30, 2015 (6 images)
- 2015 — Group Show – Golden Camera Awards Exhibition. National Museum of Taras Shevchenko, Kiev, Ukraine, March 27-29, 2015 (6 images)
- 2014 — Solo Show – a slice of silence, The Great Highway Gallery, San Francisco, CA May 3, 2014 – July 4, 2014
- 2014 — Marin County Fair, San Rafael, CA, July 2-6, 2014 (4 images).
- 2013 — Marin County Fair, San Rafael, CA, July 3-7, 2013 (3 images).
- 2017 — Wine Label for Brook and Bull, Walla Walla, WA (2015, 2016 Walla Walla Valley Cabernet Sauvignon)
- 2016 — Artist Series Wine Label for Kenwood Vineyards (Cabernet Sauvignon)
Talks & Events
- 2022 –Photo Talk and Presentation for the Pacific Association for the Continental Tradition Conference at the University of San Francisco with Joseph Stroud and Peter Weltner reading their poetry — September 2022.
- 2022 — Photo Talk and Presentation at the San Francisco Public Library in San Francisco, July 14, 2022 (View –> HERE <–)
- 2021 — Town Hall Seattle Panel on Spirited Stone: Lessons from Kubota’s Garden with Charles Johnson and Marcus Green (View –> HERE <–)
- 2017 — Photo Talk and Presentation for the Pacific Association for the Continental Tradition Conference at the University of San Francisco, September, 29 2017
- 2017 — Book Signing and Discussion with Gary Snyder, Jason Wirth, Dale Pendell, and Nathan Wirth at the Open Book in Grass Valley, CA August 5, 2017 (read about it –> here).
- 2013 — Photo Performance Collaboration with jazz musicians Phil Nimmons and David Braid at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa, Canada, November 2013
- 2013 — Photo Talk for the Pacific Association for the Continental Tradition Conference at the University of San Francisco, September 2013
Recognized – Highlights
(full list –> here <–)
- 2021 — Black and White Spider Awards. First Place in the Nature Category and Named Amateur Photographer of the Year
- 2021 — Marin County Fair. Best of Show Monochrome Print
- 2020 — Black and White Minimalist Photography Awards – Named one of the 50 Best Minimalist Photographers
- 2019 — Napa County Fair. Best of Show – Creative Print; Second Place (Black & White); Honorable Mention (Black & White)
- 2019 — Marin County Fair. Best Print – Beauty of Trees; First Place (Moonscapes); First Place (Creative or Alternative Print); Three Honorable Mentions
- 2019 — Moscow International Foto Awards. Third Place (Bronze) – Fine Art – Abstracts
- 2018 — Marin County Fair. Best of Show Monochrome Print; Second Place (Marvelous Marin); Two Honorable Mentions
- 2018 — Monochrome Awards. Fine Art Discovery of the Year (First Place), Four Honorable Mentions
- 2017 — Epson International Pano Awards. 2 Gold Medals, 3 Silver Medals, 3 Bronze Metals — and three images placed in top 50
- 2017 — Black and White Spider Awards. Third Place (Nature Category); Third Place (Silhouettes Category); Nomination (Fine Art Category)
- 2017 — Marin County Fair. Photographer of the Year; Best of Show Monochrome Print; Jack Fulton Award; One Honorable Mention
- 2017 — Dodho Magazine, Black and White Photographer of the Year 2017 – Awarded Merit of Honor
- 2015 — Moscow International Foto Awards. First Place – Nature – Trees; Three Honorable Mentions in the Nature and Abstract Categories
- 2015 — Marin County Fair. All-Around Best Print of Show; First Place – Monochrome; First Place – Creative-Alternate; Special Landscape Award; Three Honorable Mentions
- 2015 — Golden Camera Awards. First Place – Landscape
Published – Highlights
(full list –> here <–)
- 2021 — Agenda Magazine Vol 54 Nos. 1-2 (2 images)
- 2020 — Spirited Stone: Lessons from Kubota’s Garden (10 images)
- 2019 — NSEW, Issue 2 / Fall/Winter 2019 (images and interview)
- 2019 — Cover Art for In the Half Light by Peter Weltner
- 2019 — Cover Art for Vespers on Point Reyes by Peter Weltner
- 2019 — Old-Growth by Peter Weltner (7 poems) and Nathan Wirth (7 tipped-in photos) — Limited Edition (100), Hardbound, Signed Book published by Marrowstone Press (for sale on this website)
- 2019 — Black & White 2019 – Best photographers of the Year (Book Published by Dodho Magazine)
- 2019 — Cover Art for Nietzsche and Other Buddhas: Philosophy after Comparative Philosophy by Jason Wirth
- 2019 — Cover Art for Reoccupy Earth: Notes Toward an Other Beginning by David Wood
- 2018 — Cover Art for The North (Juno Award winning jazz CD by David Braid, Mike Murley, Johnny Aman, Anders Morgensen)
- 2018 — Cover Art for Andre Kunz’s Jazz CD Silence
- 2017 — Black & White 2017 – Best photographers of the Year (Book Published by Dodho Magazine)
- 2017 — Cover Art for Mountains, Rivers, and the Great Earth: Reading Gary Snyder and Dogen in an Age of Ecological Crisis by Jason Wirth
- 2017 — Four images used in Engaging Dogen’s Zen: The Philosophy of Practice as Awakening edited by Tetsuzen Jason M. Wirth, Shudo Brian Schroeder, Kanpu Bret W. Davis
- 2017 — The Light of the Sun Becomes the Sea, a collaboration with poet Peter Weltner, a book of poems (4 images)
- 2016 — Buddhadharma Magazine
- 2016 — Lion’s Roar Magazine
- 2015 — Korean Translation of Living This Life Fully: Stories and Teachings of Munindra by Mirka Knaster (published by Alchemist Books in South Korea) 15 of my images used
- 2015 — Stone Altars, a collaboration with poet Peter Weltner, a book of poems with 8 images.
- 2015 — Spiritus: A Journal of Christian Spirituality, Spring 2015, Vol. 15, Number 1 (1 image)
- 2013 — Art Booklet and Cover for Nimmons’n’Braid CD – Suite St. John’s: Falling Through
- 2012 — Cover Art for David Braid CD, Verge (winner of the Juno Award)
Camera Equipment Used
Nathan uses cameras and lenses and filters and a tripod and a bag and a printer and paper and processing software and some other stuff.