Jeff Whetstone

A Hunter's Sleep

 
 
thumbnail thumbnail thumbnail thumbnail
thumbnail thumbnail thumbnail thumbnail
thumbnail thumbnail thumbnail thumbnail
thumbnail thumbnail thumbnail thumbnail
       
            We wake up at three fifty.  There isn’t any talk, just the sound of four men donning the uniform: warm layers, camouflaged waders, see-through facemasks, gloves without fingers.  We double check the gear: calls, shells, a cushion to sit on, and our cell phones.  We head out onto the empty highway packed in a four-seater four-wheel-drive like a third shift road crew. The muddy path we turn on is gated with a chain, then it turns into a creek and ends in a swamp.  We get out with our guns and walk swiftly through the foggy water.  All we can hear is splashing and breathing. We take our positions, pull down our face-masks, and wait.

            The woods wake up without movement, only with sound.  It starts with a tired owl, then a shy titmouse. We hold our breath so quietly we can hear mice in the leaves. Then, species by species, the birds wake up singing.  Chickadees, thrushes, sparrows, and starlings fill every available slice of silence.  The have migrated across the continent to announce their presence.  The voices are thickly layered and we listen to hear the voice of a wild turkey.  We don’t have to be so quiet anymore and we begin whisper to each other.  This is when I relax.  I am a lazy hunter, and this is when I fall asleep.

 
    return to art
 


Jeff Whetstone
was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee and has been photographing and writing about the relationship between man and nature since he received a Zoology degree from Duke University in 1990. Whetstone served for five years as an artist-in residence at Appalshop, Inc., a media arts center located in coalfields of eastern Kentucky. While working at Appalshop, Whetstone was the project director for the Before the Flood exhibition that premiered at the National Folk Festival. His photographs and writing have been featured in Southern Changes, DoubleTake, Southern Exposure, Daylight Magazine and elsewhere.

After receiving his MFA in photography from Yale in 2001, he was awarded the prestigious Sakier Prize for photography. Since then, his work has been exhibited internationally and received reviews in The Village Voice, New York Times, New Yorker Magazine, and the Los Angeles Times. Whetstone teaches at the Art Department of the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. Whetstone was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2007 for a body of work entitled, New Wilderness. In 2008 Whetstone was award the Factor Prize for Southern Art.

Jeff Whetstone is represented by Julie Saul Gallery, NY; Karyn Lovegrove Gallery, LA and Jackson Fine Art, Atlanta.