Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Visions of Hell
Words by Greg
Photos by Greg and Trina
We took a trip to a strange and interesting piece of desert. Not quite local, but not so far away. It's a place where the texture of the landscape is rugged and rough. But more, it's place where color of the landscape is intense, varied, and -- maybe -- not quite believable.
This place can play host to a severe and brutal two-wheeled ride. But on this occasion, we opted to use our bikes to gain access. Then to follow our feet through the twisting shapes of stone. Past late season blossoms. Mysterious egg-carrying creatures in tiny pools. And more startlingly, through the wonderland of color. Grey and blonde. Yellow, ochre, mauve. And yes, red, rust, orange and umber.
Seeing is believing. Or so it is said. But seeing a photograph should probably never lead to belief. Likely there should always be a healthy dose of skepticism held in reserve when confronted with the "realities" of a photograph. Any photo, even the most honest, is filtered through a fallible lens. Not only the lens of camera, film or sensor, memory of light or pixel, chemical or electron, paper or screen. But also through the eye, memory and experience of the photographer.
I do strive to achieve a level of honesty in my photos. That said, I realize most every photo is a cheat. In imitating life, the art of photography takes liberties. I point toward the better view. I try to encompass the most dramatic scene. I aim for the most interesting moment. And leave out the "boring" parts. I try to capture something of the feeling of being there. And try to take photos that are interesting to look at.
And rarely am I as challenged as I have been on my two visits here, to this intensely colored and textured piece of desert.
How honest can these dramatic colors and convoluted shapes be? Is there any sense of reality to a landscape like this? How do I evaluate the effects of the changing light, from shadow to sunshine as clouds fly over and the sun spins across the sky? And how can I present these shapes and these colors without offending the believability of the viewer?
I remain mystified. And yet, I have done my best.
See. Believe, if you will. Or don't believe.