Photo exhibit finds beauty in an elemental part of earth

Photo exhibit finds beauty in an elemental part of earth

Consider landscape images and you normally picture massive, dramatic vistas: mountain ranges marching into the distance, the sweeping grasslands and acacia trees of the African savanna, the picturesque valleys of the Scottish Highlands.

But as a new photo exhibit in Northampton’s Forbes Library demonstrates, there’s lots of elegance — and historical past — to be discovered in some of the smaller sized particulars of nature.

The show, at the Hosmer Gallery, attributes the work of photographers Rhea Banker and Paul Hetzel. Banker features an artistic seem at the Svalbard Archipelago, a cluster of rocky, glacial islands just 500 miles from the North Pole, although Hetzel’s photographs highlight the normal coloring and patterns in rock formations — what he calls “Nature’s Palette.”

Banker, who lives in Shelburne Falls, is also a e-book designer who has invested a great deal of her photographic profession exploring northern lands — Scotland, the Outer Hebrides, Greenland — as effectively as Tierra del Fuego, the southern idea of South The usa. In an interview, she claimed her desire in photographing this terrain to start with developed for the duration of a vacation to Scotland, which she suggests has some of the oldest rock formations on earth.

“So a great deal of the historical past of the earth is created in rocks,” explained Banker, whose pictures have been exhibited in Scotland, Denmark, Greenland, the U.S. and other areas. “They really inform stories of the earlier.”

In the tumble of 2019, she was invited to just take part in a residency plan, The Arctic Circle, that delivers alongside one another artists, scientists, educators and many others to analyze the Svalbard Archipelago, one particular of the fastest-warming spots on the earth. Contributors traveled around the islands in a specifically outfitted sailing ship and also frequented picked areas on shore.

Banker’s photographs capture equally the forbidding majesty of this setting, exactly where tremendous, striated partitions of rock occur down to the sea, and lesser details, such as colorful patterns of various rock just beneath a area of shallow h2o. She also discovered new sections of rock that have been uncovered, potentially for the initially time in hundreds of years, as glaciers on the archipelago have retreated due to climate change.

“What we ended up seriously seeking to do there was bear witness,” Banker stated. “Not only are glaciers retreating, the seas are climbing.”

At the same time, seeking at some of this transform from an inventive viewpoint has its enchantment. As she writes in show notes, “I turned fascinated by the textures, colors, and forms now getting seen beneath the melting ice and snow. As glaciers recede, the Earth reveals formations of the land’s earlier and hints at its unidentified long term.”

Banker provides a selected abstraction to her photographs, which have titles such as “Blomestrandbreen Landscape” and attribute extraordinary arrays of colour and texture some of them might move for near-up pics of crystals.

The appeal in photographing these particulars of rock, she suggests, is documenting the way rock is transformed above time by ice, drinking water, heat, tension and other normal forces.

Sadly, Banker adds, weather modify now has grow to be 1 of those forces. She has lived and traveled in the western aspect of Greenland above a number of years, documenting little village life by means of her photographs and also teaching, and she suggests warming temperatures are disrupting life for Indigenous peoples there who have long relied on fishing, hunting and touring around ice on wooden sleds.

Pure coloring

For his aspect, Paul Hetzel of Springfield notes in a assertion about his part of the Hosmer show: “Artists build lively paintings with the use of coloration pigments. Mother Nature makes equally vibrant color and patterns secondary to minerals and pigments discovered in soil and rock.”

Hetzel, a retired oncologist, took up photography very seriously immediately after climbing on trails near Mount Everest in 1994. A member of the Pioneer Valley Photographic Artists, an informal team of seasoned photographers, he has traveled thoroughly about the last 2½ decades, the two in the U.S. and overseas, in research of landscape image opportunities.

Some of those outings have been with businesses that cater particularly to photographers, including 1 on which he traveled by boat up the east coast of Greenland, going to Scoresby Sund (or Seem), the longest fjord technique in the entire world. Some others have been with mates, in particular to places in the American West and Southwest — Utah, Arizona, California, Oregon.

It was though checking out a person of his favored places in the West — Valley of Hearth, a condition park in Nevada recognised for its extraordinary crimson sandstone formations and historic petroglyphs — some decades back again that Hetzel arrived throughout some particularly vivid colored gradations on a canyon wall.

He suggests it transpired to him then that “I seriously really should go by means of my pictures and cull these pieces that speak to this wonderful coloring you get [on rock] from weathering and erosion.”

“Nature’s Palette” provides many views of this undulating coloring from western U.S. spots these types of as Valley of Fire Capitol Reef Nationwide Park and Boulder Mountain, the two in Utah Badlands Nationwide Park in South Dakota and the California coast and Sierra Mountains. But Hetzel notes that this type of weathering takes place just about everywhere, and his show includes pictures from New Zealand, Iceland, and western Massachusetts.

Particularly hanging are some photos from the John Working day Fossil Beds in north-central Oregon, a U.S. Nationwide Monument of badlands and desert that contains perfectly-preserved levels of fossil plants and mammals. Some of Hetzel’s photos showcase modest, various dark styles from multicolored walls that look as even though they’ve been produced by human hands — petroglyphs? — instead than by nature.

A different emphasize is a portion of marble wall in King’s Canyon Countrywide Park in California, the place dozens of strains of multicolored, banded marble zigzag across the photograph. And through a trip to Iceland past summer, Hetzel photographed rapid flowing rivers that, full of glacial soften and silt — he calls them “braided rivers” — develop impressive and colourful summary forms.

As considerably as he’s liked traveling for his pictures, Hetzel claims he is aware some of these landscapes are threatened. On his journey to Greenland, in 2017, he photographed the Northern Lights, crystalline icebergs, glaciers, and miles of rugged shoreline. But, he mentioned, “You surprise how a great deal it will improve … I’m happy I got to see it when I did.”

The exhibit of Banker and Hetzel’s get the job done is on perspective by way of Jan. 30.