I have spent a lot of time on the Outer Cape (Cod) walking the beaches and the tidal flats. At one point, almost 20 years ago I thought, I was captivated by the complex trails left by snails in the wet sand as they crisscrossed and left their “drawings” behind.

I began photographing those configurations by taking random photographs without looking through the viewfinder. Shortly thereafter I began to arrange them in simple geometric figures – lines, triangles, circles, placing them on wet sand.

More info: danielranalli.com


Nearly all of my work over the past thirty years or so has been infused with elements of chance.


I have a fascination with found marks as abstraction.

Chaos Theory

In the 1970s and 80s I worked almost exclusively on a series of photograms (cameraless images made directly on photo paper in the darkroom). One never knew exactly what they would look like until they were developed, and then it was too late to change anything.

Double Line Start

I have also done a series of photographs of chalkboards and marks’ montages, words and symbols into large prints.


What I love most is the way the work is a metaphor for how we try to arrange and structure our lives and then all the random forces of being intervene to take us where we didn’t expect – for good and bad.


I also like the humor. When I watch people in a gallery or museum as they encounter the work, there is at first a confusion –what are those things? Little stones? When they see the titles a beautiful smile breaks across their face (and mine too). Humor is underrated in the art world.

Stick Square

Rock Vein

Pythagorean Theory