Photographer Larry Kanfer celebrates the Heartland in his new book, A Prairie State of Mind. The serene beauty and remarkable contrasts of the prairie cycle through the season's in Kanfer's book.
After three decades of capturing the Midwest landscape, Champaign-based Kanfer still finds much to discover and share. The artist says his most recent works go beyond the superficial in the landscape to try and capture a wider story. He admitted that it took a couple of years to be won over by the charms of the prairie, but right from the start he was struck by Midwestern skies. "The sky was just fantastic!" said Kanfer. " I love to see the fronts come through. There's always a changing sky -- it reminds us how small we are compared to this enormous sky. And the land, too, the seemingly blank land. I love the juxtaposition between the sky and the land."
"Part of the beauty here is the chronological beauty," Kanfer continued. "The change from season to season, or from moment to moment when a front might go through and it goes from hot and humid and rainy to clear and crisp and dry. Whereas people in other places, there the beauty is a physical juxtaposition of high and low, the contrast between high and low -- tall mountains, deep valleys. We have the contrast between now and then."
Kanfer studied architecture at the University of Illinois before becoming a full-time artist. But he hasn't left the lessons he learned behind. "One of the things that I really appreciate is that in architectural training, there was understanding of both the analytical and the emotional. I'll look at a place, like central Illinois, and think about what makes it so beautiful. Analytically, you can divide that out. Like with the weather, maybe it's the excitement of the change of the weather. So the architectural training helped me to see things analytically and emotionally."
Editor's Note: Images are licensed to Laura Kennedy with WGLT for use in web post for A Prairie State of Mind interview 2016. Images remain ©Larry Kanfer. Any other use constitutes copyright violation.