Philip Bogdan Meet

Philip Bogdan

Alexandria, VA

About Philip Bogdan

Alexandria, VA



Ten years in the making, the "Little Hunting Creek" project was conceived as a means of helping me regain my cognitive skills, which were severely reduced due to complications from open heart surgery. Having lost the ability to photograph, I needed to start from zero. I was forced to place small printing labels on every portion of my photographic equipment to identify their function. Fortunately, as a result of neuroplasticity and time, I can now make the images you're currently viewing in my portfolio. Little Hunting Creek, located in Northern Virginia, has become my Walden Pond. All of the fauna you’ll view are mere feet from my dogs and me. Having photographed the creek exclusively for ten years, generational habituation has taken over; where mothers bring their babies right up to Roarie, Rossi, and me. It’s been an intensely spiritual and ethereal journey.


In 1992, I began a ten-year project that was to become one of the most enlightening experiences of my life, "Into The Woods." In the early morning hours, I would kayak in search of the perfect arboreal location. Upon finding a pristine grove that spoke to me, I would take GPS coordinates and depart for home.

Later, as the sun was setting, I would carry my backpack, filled with 90 lbs. of large-format photographic equipment, to the exact coordinates and prepare for my all-night shoot. What began as an adventure gradually transposed into an earnest study of the lives of the forest trees. All photographs were made in complete darkness with a wide variety of filters and light sources. I began to challenge myself by creating a week's worth of night shoots on a single piece of 5×7 sheet film. In 2002, I expanded my objectives to create images based on up to fourteen nights of shooting on only one sheet of film. The complexity of these images challenged me to the point where I felt that I had reached my maximum capacity for performance in this endeavor.

Photographing in all seasons and weather conditions, I also became obsessed with the sounds within the darkness. The stomping of large bucks, the woosh of eagles on the wind, and the scampering of foxes punctuated the night, but through it all, it was the omnipresence of the trees that fascinated me most. I sensed the powerful and continuous communications of the forest and attempted to interpret those silent conversations into light and color. It wasn't until many years later that I discovered my instincts were correct, in that trees communicate with other trees through the underground mycorrhizal network.


Between 1990 and 1995, two dear friends agreed to serve as my photographic models. As a result of our collaborative efforts, Body As Temple was created. My objective was to capture the sensuality, mystery, and power of the female form through light and color. I sought to integrate symbolism from both Greek and Roman mythology. Aphrodite was the ancient Greek Goddess of love, lust, passion, pleasure, beauty, sexuality, and fertility. Venus was her Roman counterpart. My goal was to depict a 1990s version of these divinities. In this effort, I chose models that exemplified the concept of contemporary female beauty. One possessed the ancient Greek athletic physique of Aphrodite and the other the Roman-era physical voluptuousness of Venus.


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Other works by Philip Bogdan


  • Rhode Island School of Design, BFA/MFA
    Providence, Rhode Island,1982 

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