Observations in an Occupied Wilderness: Photographs by Terry Falke

January 14, 2011, 1:51 pm

Observations in an Occupied Wilderness Cover ImageIn his photographic journey through the Southwest, Terry Falke takes a seldom-seen approach to photographing an otherwise romanticized landscape of the American West. While the images in Observations in an Occupied Wilderness are not always beautiful in the classic tradition of landscape photography, the talent and vision of Terry’s photographic West are clearly present throughout.

With the turn of each page, the viewer begins to feel as though they are just over the photographer’s shoulder, a passenger on a crisscross road trip through mountain, canyon, and desert. Many of the images are filled with an ironic humor, and do not contain items that the average visitor would choose to frame in their versions of this collection of famous and obscure locations. A view of balanced rock in Arches National Park includes the information display on the geologic formations, part of a family group, and the NPS signage toward the trailhead. Other favorites include a pond with visitors feeding ducks from a nearby parking lot, with the famous Stanley Hotel of Estes Park, CO barely recognizable in the background. Man-made linear elements are strewn throughout otherwise open country, as well as abandoned construction and other forms of detritus.

A frequent visitor to the Western Landscape may not choose to see some of what has become the subject of Terry Falke’s imagery. He has taken the rugged features of the landscape, and mixed the reality of human existence in such a lonely, open space. Careful selection, a great sense of humor, and the brilliant detail of the 8x10 camera all helped to create the selection seen in this wonderful book.

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