Envisioning the Grand Canyon at MNA
FLAGSTAFF-People worldwide recognize the iconic image of the Grand Canyon, greatly due to the visual interpretation of a small group of adventurous photographers. The Museum of Northern Arizona's (MNA) new exhibit Lasting Light: The Photography of Grand Canyon is a celebration of the best photographic images of this mysterious and ever-changing landscape, by a select group of fine art photographers. Additionally, raptors from MNA's Natural History Collections soar above the gallery, representing the many raptors species that make their home in and around, or migrate through, the deep canyon. The exhibit opens Saturday, Feb. 3 and will run through Sunday, June 17.
While the average traveler might only spend a short time at the rim of the canyon, professional Grand Canyon photographers commit to hiking through rugged backcountry, carrying enormous packs of equipment, and spending hours or sometimes days waiting for a fleeting moment of magical light to capture the perfect image. Landscape photographers typically spend from six to nine months of each year in the field, usually alone and at great expense.
This exhibit showcases the work of 26 photographers and is sponsored by the Grand Canyon Association, Hance Partners, and Grand Canyon National Park. Six nationally recognized jurors from within the photography world chose the 60 images.
In this exhibit, MNA co-curators Alan Petersen, guest curator of fine art, and Dr. Larry Stevens, curator of biology and ecology, have integrated the art of photography and the science of natural history in order to deepen understanding of the canyon's unique and fragile habitat and raise consciousness of its biological diversity. The hawk, eagle, condor and owl specimens on display were salvaged after accidents with lead shot, electric wires or collisions with moving vehicles.
"MNA is pleased to be joining with the Grand Canyon Association for this extraordinary presentation of photographic images from Grand Canyon National Park," MNA director Robert Breunig said. "We are also excited about adding the biological interpretation on the raptors of the Grand Canyon: once again, MNA is emphasizing the convergence of science and art, in this case photography and biology."
Petersen explained, "We like to think of a photograph as visual truth-an objective source. But like all artistic mediums, the artist uses a great deal of manipulation in the creation of an image. Technical and artistic decisions are made in the equipment used, the composition of the image and the processing of the image. And there are 'happy accidents' that can occur during all phases of the creative process. Lasting Light is a celebration of the wonder of the Grand Canyon and the many ways these 26 photographers use their medium to share their vision and interpretation."
Stevens adds, "A geographic formation called the East Kaibab Monocline uplifts the North Rim of the Grand Canyon 1,000 feet above the elevation of the South Rim, turning an already spectacular chasm into a world wonder and inspiring the artistic achievements in this exhibit. Raptors follow the monocline across the broad chasm during their autumn migration south. On a clear September day at Lipan Point near Desert View Watchtower, it is not unusual to see numerous raptor species, spiraling upward on the canyon's thermals. Every 30 to 45 seconds another bird reaches the South Rim and continues its migration towards the San Francisco Peaks."
This exhibit was conceived and nurtured by Richard Jackson of Hance Partners, Inc., a professional photography lab in Flagstaff. The jury of photography professional included:
Andrew Wallace from the Center for Creative Photography in Tucson; Christopher Burkett, a nationally-known landscape photographer; John Altbert, retired vice president of Eastman Kodak Professional Photography Division; Peter Ensenberger, director of photography for Arizona Highways magazine; Annie Griffiths-Belt from National Geographic Magazine and Terry Etherton, owner of a fine art photography gallery in Tucson.
Photographers whose images are in the Lasting Light exhibit are: Tom Bean, Sue Bennett, John Blaustein, Dugald Bremmer, Tom Brownold, Mike Buchheit, Michael Collier, James Cowlin, Sherry Curtis and Alfredo Conde, Dick Dietrich, Jack Dykinga, Dave Edwards, Geoff Gourley, George H. H. Huey, Liz Hymans, Jerry Jacka, Gary Ladd, Larry Lindahl, Robert McDonald, Randy Prentice, John Running, Raechel Running, Kate Thompson, Tom Till, Stephen Trimble and Larry Ulrich.
To accompany the exhibit, Northland Publishing recently published Lasting Light: 125 Years of Grand Canyon Photography by Stephen Trimble. The book presents every photograph featured in the exhibit, plus dozens of additional contemporary and historic images and essays from the photographers. BookPage Magazine publishers commented on the Trimble text saying, "This collection is a superlative explication of America's very own world wonder."
Some of the exhibit text is excerpted from the book, which will be available for purchase at the Museum throughout the exhibit. MNA is located three miles north of historic downtown Flagstaff on Highway 180. It is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $5 adults, $4 seniors (65+), $3 students, $2 children (ages 7-17), and it is always free to members.
Lasting Light Programs included with Museum Admission are as follows: All-Age Youth Programs: Saturday, Feb. 17, 1-2 p.m., High Country Raptors Live Presentation and Overflight
High Country Raptors is a nonprofit organization that promotes raptor conservation though rehabilitation and education. Volunteers will present live birds and will discuss topics such as the annual migration of Grand Canyon raptors, raptor adaptations, and raptor conservation issues. An overflight will be included with this presentation.
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