The relationship between photography and national parks is a long, varied and often fruitful one.

Among other examples, it dates to the era 150 years ago when Carleton Watkins’ dazzling pictures inspired Congress and President Lincoln to federally preserve the untrammeled area around Yosemite Valley.

Jasmine Swope adds a distinctive poetic twist to this well traveled territory. The photographs are being shown at Craig Krull Gallery with loosely related paintings of tidal pools by Connie Jenkins and gridded seashore collages by Matthew Chase-Daniel.

Swope shows lush, black-and-white palladium prints of California’s network of 124 Marine Protected Areas. Stretching from Oregon to Mexico, these underwater preserves are among more than 1,600 federally designated areas in coastal oceans, intertidal zones and the Great Lakes.

Swope’s photographs have the soft look of richly worked, large-scale graphite drawings. In addition to her chosen printing technique, it is achieved through lengthy exposures that blur contours, enhance atmospherics and blend the motions of waves and birds into gentle near-abstractions.

One result is to recast familiar sights, recorded in millions of snapshots of tourist scenery, into something alien and almost extraterrestrial. Rocky outcroppings rising above foggy gray swirls of luminosity might be on some far-off mountaintop or even on a Hollywood backlot. They’re like mysterious landscapes glimpsed on another planet.

That they’re actually close to home makes the visual estrangement salutary. Swope’s camera can only show the world’s surface; however lovely the outward appearance might be, the complex but largely hidden dynamic of a habitat is what matters. Her photographs deftly evoke the presence of more than the eye can see.

Christopher Knight - Los Angeles Times


the tides of el matador

1 El Matador

The moon pulls and the oceans move.  Tides come and tides go.  With each sweep of water a new world is revealed. –Dwight Holing

I am inspired by the ever-changing landscape of surf and sand.  I awake at dawn and drive to El Matador State Beach at Malibu.  In the early light of morning all is quiet along the beach and the advance and retreat of the tides have sculpted the shoreline into artful forms. 

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along the river

1 Along the River

The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science. – Albert Einstein

A novice in adventure travel, I spend several months preparing for a 226-mile raft trip down the Colorado River. Physical conditioning, first aid tutorials, travel gear, and countless books and pamphlets cannot fully prepare me for what I experience in the magical and majestic landscape of The Grand Canyon.

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the salton sea

1 Salton Sea

While photographing the Salton Sea, I became aware of the lake being a subject of great cultural anxiety.  My interest in photographing it was not motivated by an aesthetic terror or dread, but rather the attraction to the romantic allure of the quiet, vast body of water even though there is a mood of strong divide between the ominous and beautiful.

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