David LaBella - Featured Photographer
REVISITING AN AMERICAN TRADITION
As photographers, we should always bear in mind that when we think we have seen or know it all, circumstances will prove up wrong, and it is fortunate that this is true, because within this process is the essence of creativity. These images represent a day revisiting a place I thought I had known well, Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada, about an hour to the north of Las Vegas. It is, to my mind, the most underrated landscape in the United States- it is an unbelievably colorful eroded masterpiece of forms and tones cut into beds of nearly pure silica sandstones that are as soft and brittle to the touch as hardened sugar; easily accessible and a veritable playground for a visual artist.
Arriving there in November on a day that had cloudless skies (terrible conditions for landscape work), I found myself reduced to seeking out details and small vignettes within the larger setting that I could render on color film. Using low-angle sun and bounce-light from landforms illuminated around me, the images I was able to capture are wonder-works of texture, detail, subtle tones, and delicate layers of hardened sand. I have been so pleased with the results, and they have been so well-received at galleries and other venues, that I plan to return and gather more images later this year. Working in the desert brings its own set of challenges- heat, overpowering light, dust-laden wind, and difficult terrain. yet, if one is patient and sensitive and willing to look beyond the usual wide-open landscapes, there are wonderful images at one's feet ready-made for the camera.
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