Michael Christopher Zuhorski


        Heat River

        Dusk Studies

     Eyes Make the Horizon




Heat River is a photographic study of a rivermouth and how the rivermouth changed over the course of a summer. I walked every night to photograph this rivermouth through July into August. The river flows into Lake Superior in a region of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula called the Huron Mountains. For reasons of privacy I have chosen not to use the river’s name in this work. Heat River is a pseudonym for the river. It is intended as a nod toward the river as a living thing.

The rivermouth exists in excess of any single name or stable identity. It is always visibly in the process of becoming. It is the epitome of fluidity and change. The rivermouth is the meeting of two bodies – the river and the lake. In concert with the lake, the river is continually erasing its banks and re-drawing them new.

All of these images were all made within feet one of one another at the site of the rivermouth. They are sequenced in chronological order. Each image is a long-exposure photograph; most are exposures of six to eight minutes. They were made an hour after sunset at the tail-end of dusk. These exposures brighten dim light beyond what the eyes can see. Because of this, the time of day often appears androgynous. Some of these images are lit by both the sun and the moon.

In many of these images the light is hazy and muted. This is from the smoke of forest fires in Ontario hanging in the air over Lake Superior. The smoke-thick air burdened the light and our lungs throughout July.