Beautiful New Photography Book

Beautiful New Photography Book

This beautiful new photography book was a gift from a dear friend earlier this month. I have found it to be a source of inspiration for reassessing my own photography, as well as just a joy to view. I do not ordinarily use posts here to promote the work of others. However, I think some of you will enjoy this book as much as I have, and I wanted to let you know about it. This Land: An American Portrait by Jack Spencer with foreword by Jon Meacham:

photography book

My Amazon Review

This magnificent volume of some 140 photographic images spans thirteen years and the Lower 48 States. Begun in 2003, partially as a response to 9/11, this photographic essay, with intense and raw beauty, is a search for meaning by a photographic artist. The images as they came out of the camera were a starting point for creating images Spencer saw in his “mind’s eye.” This is not a glossy travel brochure with beautiful travel images designed to entice tourists to visit, jump out of the car, take a snapshot, and move on to the next spot. Indeed, it is the exact opposite. These are images over which to linger, to contemplate what the artist was thinking as he created each image and what he hoped to show us. These are images that open the mind and encourage the viewer to look deeply and differently at the world around him/herself. What is the meaning of each image, and, taken as a whole, what do they say about the meaning of America? There are probably as many answers as there are viewers of the book.

Jon Meacham, in his Foreword, writes of what he finds “surprising images” in the book. Those were not surprising images to me. I live in “The Land of Enchantment,” which, in some ways, is still a frontier. But Spencer’s treatment of images from places I know, such as Truchas and Cerrillos, New Mexico, made me see them in a different way. This is a book that will influence my photography going forward.

Spencer is saddened, appalled that the majority of people he encountered seemed to be unaware of the beauty around them: “I was constantly stunned by the sheer volume of sleepwalking masses.” And, “…a phrase from the Gnostic Gospels of Thomas does come to mind: ‘The kingdom of heaven is spread out across the earth but men do not see it.’” I was not surprised when he noted that sometimes the beauty was so great he knew no camera could capture it, and that he would watch a scene, with camera packed.

I was fortunate to receive the book as a gift from a friend who knew the images would speak to me. Photographers and artists will find much to enjoy here. People who have quietly enjoyed the beauty of this country, whether in their own back yards or along country back roads or in local, state, or National Parks, or anywhere, for that matter, will find the book and its images offer a chance for reflection about many facets of life. Those groups are a natural audience. But, a group to whom I would especially recommend this book are parents with children of all ages. Study the images and your responses to them. Show them to your children, and let them tell you what they see. Discuss the history of this country, and the magnificent beauty there for the seeing. Help them open their eyes, not just to look, but to see. Five stars.

If you have the time and interest, take a look at this beautiful landscape photography book, available at Amazon and elsewhere. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have.

The Photographer’s Model Cat, Spunk

Spunk, the Photographer's Model Cat

The Photographer’s Model Cat, Spunk

The photographer’s model cat, Spunk, is always good for a smile. I needed a smile today, and I thought you might, too. Going back through photos from last year, I came across this image of Spunk. Many of you who read here know that Spunk is one of Tim and Laurie Price’s cats, with a personality that goes with his name. Periodically he has to work to pay down his running tab for things he destroys. He is not a mean cat; anything but! However, he sometimes gets carried away with play, which is why he has to work periodically. He has to be the best! Here he is, showing off his style.

Spunk, the Photographer's Model Cat
Spunk, the Photographer’s Model Cat

On Southwest Desert Gardening, I have posted some images from Tim and Laurie’s garden that day.

Earth Day 2017

Earth Day 2017

Earth Day 2017

Earth Day 2017 is happening on a day when my roses are about three weeks ahead of bloom time compared to even several years ago. I am enjoying them, and hoping that the summer won’t be too hot.

This rose is the miniature rose, ‘Starla.’ It actually has a bloom that is quite large for a miniature, and some days I wonder if it will be reclassified a mini-flora. It is a beautiful rose in any stage from bud to fully open.

Earth Day 2017
Earth Day 2017

Orchids, Unique Personalities

orchid

Orchids, Unique Personalities

Orchids, like all flowers, have their own unique personalities. They are beautiful when viewed as a whole. A really close look may show something completely different, or in addition to. I had fun looking at these.

orchids
Sweet, Grandmotherly Orchid Angel

I had fun playing with this one. I created it for a special long-distance friend, but some others of you might also enjoy it, today especially. 🙂

orchids
Orchid Angel Dude

Bosque del Apache 2014

Bosque del Apache

Bosque del Apache 2014

Bosque del Apache 2014, flashback to a time when things seemed pretty perfect. I was updating software today, and came across images not seen for some time. I enjoyed looking at them, and decided to share a couple here.

Bosque del Apache
Sandhill Cranes, Late Afternoon, January 17, 2014

The following morning at dawn was warm by January standards. The temperature was 19°F, no wind to speak of, and I was dressed in layers. I thought that was sufficient. My two companions that weekend went back to the car shortly after we arrived at this spot. I thought it was too beautiful to leave, and I am glad I have the images. Several hours later when I was warm enough to think sensibly again, I realized that I really had become hypothermic. The next time I plan to be out at dawn some winter day at the Bosque, I’ll have on about ten more layers!

Bosque del Apache
Dawn at Bosque del Apache, January 18, 2014

These images reminded me not only of that weekend, but also how fortunate I am to live in “The Land of Enchantment.”

Spring Garden

spring garden

Spring Garden

Spring garden – on a beautiful Albuquerque day like today being out in the garden is always pleasant. Today was an especially pleasant and interesting spring day. Friend and fellow photographer Tim Price, whom many of you know from his blog, TandL Photos, took me to an early morning appointment with the eye doctor. We then came back to the house and sat out on the patio, just enjoying the day, catching up on life, and looking for beautiful and interesting things to photograph.

This is the first part of a two part “tandem blog.” The second part is here, “Lizard Love.

spring garden
Sky Even More Beautiful than Usual
spring garden
Reliably Colorful Pansies
spring garden
More Reliably Colorful Pansies
spring garden
White Clematis Beginning to Bloom

Continue reading “Spring Garden”

ANMPAS 2017 – A Reminder

ANMPAS 2017

ANMPAS 2017 – A Reminder

ANMPAS 2017, the Annual New Mexico Photographic Arts Show, is now open and runs through April 23. The show is in the Fine Arts Building at EXPONM. Hours are 10:00am-5:00pm daily, except closed on Easter Sunday. If you live in Albuquerque, or will be passing through the Albuquerque area, consider visiting the show. I think you’ll enjoy it. All photographs are framed and available for purchase.

ANMPAS 2017
ANMPAS 2017. “Fruit of Ancient Myths.”

(For those of you who read at my other blog, Southwest Desert Gardening: and a Little More, I am posting the same notice there. I wanted to warn you about the double post.)

And, once again, I invite you to see a variety of my other pomegranate images, as well as rose images and two from “Persephone’s Choice: Every Woman’s Dilemma.” These were published in the March/April Shadow and Light Magazine, Tim Anderson, editor. Tim was kind enough to allow me to use a pdf of my portfolio published there, as the Featured Photographer and Grand Prize Winner of the 2017 Color It Red Contest. Thanks, Tim, and also to the jurists.