I present these images to you to share my wonder at the beauty of the Southwest. I often had to shoot multiple photos to capture an entire vista; most of these final images are a digital compilation of numerous photographs. I have attempted to edit them only to generate the appearance of the scenery as my eyes perceived it. I digitally manipulated these images with a specific goal in mind; to remove the inadequacy of the camera to capture these magical expanses, majestic mountains, and jade-colored water of the beautiful, fragile, and sometimes terrible southwest.
I was inspired to create this body of work after our trip to Utah and Arizona in the spring of 2019. I was compelled to hang out of the window of our rented RV snapping shots of the roadside as we traveled from Las Vegas, Nevada to Sierra Vista, Arizona. I struggled to navigate because of the visual distraction; each corner opened a new breathtaking vista. While doing so, I was constantly reminded of how small we are in comparison to the vastness of our landscape. I want to share the magnitude of these great places. I have never felt such a compulsion to communicate beauty the way I did while hiking through the rain in Zion, knowing the water under my feet had been resting within the canyon for as much as 1200 years. I never felt as insignificant as I did upon approaching Horseshoe Bend; as the ground suddenly dropped away to reveal 6 million years of erosion.
I remember the smell of the air, the feel of the sand, sounds of the ravens, and thinking how beautifully foreign the desert seemed. While surrounded by these wonders, I read a multitude of signs beseeching the traveler to be aware of how fragile the ecosystem of these desert areas is. I learned more at every stop about how this ecosystem suffers from human exploration. I will never forget the blizzard warning 10 miles from the Mexican border that chased us north to Tucson and the comments that locals made about the freakish weather patterns that Spring. After returning home to upstate New York, I researched more about the current effects of climate change upon these precious wonders. I was dumbfounded to learn of the disproportionate magnitude of climate change in United States national parks and the wide-spread changes already taking place.
I remain mortified when considering the destruction of this raw beauty by mining or infrastructure. While I photographed these monuments, I felt a sense of personal peril; many of the cliffs were over 2000 feet to a rocky bottom. More powerful than that, I felt a terror that these places would be corrupted by foolishness and greed. I want to share the sense of wonder I felt; the connection to the Earth that wakened a child-like curiosity that is now tempered by an overwhelming sensation of foreboding. I have literally thousands of images from my 18-day trip. I don't feel that even one can entirely convey the song of my soul when approaching the Grand Canyon at dawn or arriving at Navajo lands to descend into the Antelope Canyon. I woke every day to new adventure; the unpredictable range in temperature, the unfamiliar wildlife, the colors in nature that I felt I had never seen before. I want to share the story of my 18 days of astonishment. I long to return.
SALVAGE, is on display at the SVAN Gallery in the Northville Library at 341 South 3rd Street in Northville, NY from July 2, 2019, throughout August. The Sacandaga Valley Arts Network (SVAN) is hosting a meet-the-artist reception on July 16 from 6-8pm featuring Janene Bouck. Bouck's work has been featured at Saratoga Arts & recognized for award at the Arkell Museum, Canajoharie Library Stone Gallery & the Paul Nigra Center for Creative Arts.
The Sacandaga Valley Arts Network (SVAN) is hosting a meet-the-artist reception on July 16 from 6-8pm featuring Janene Bouck. Her exhibition, SALVAGE, is on display at the SVAN Gallery in the Northville Library at 341 South 3rd Street in Northville, NY from July 2, 2019, throughout August. Bouck's work has been featured at Saratoga Arts & recognized for award at the Arkell Museum, Canajoharie Library Stone Gallery & the Paul Nigra Center for Creative Arts.
SALVAGE incorporates regional photography with salvaged material from the Adirondack, Sacandaga & Mohawk Valley Regions. It addresses the artist’s perception of Fulton County; the connections between environment, commerce, education, & social unity. Saratoga Arts made this possible with an Individual Artist Grant funded by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo & the New York State Legislature.