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Water Makes Its Way
Adirondack Photographs by Nathan Farb, Eliot Porter, and Gary Randorf


August 22 - October 13, 2018



Gary Randorf, Twin Pond, DixWilderness, 1975, silver dye-bleach print,
courtesy of the Adirondack Experience, the Museum on Blue Mountain Lake

From the 1850s to present day, photographers utilized low-angle or eye-level perspectives to capture views of New York State’s Adirondack Mountains and the region’s lakes, streams, and bogs; forest interiors, flora, and fauna; and aspects of geology, geography, and topography. These images reveal nature’s textures and colors and the poetic qualities of light and atmosphere in carefully constructed compositions, often using pictorial conventions employed by traditional landscape painters. In fact, during the late 1800s, an appreciation of nature as a work of art and the popularity of landscape painting were essential to the development of landscape photography.

Three pioneers in color photography capture water sculpting rock in stunning Adirondack views. Nathan Farb, Elliot Porter, and Gary Randorf are world-renowned photographer-naturalists whose passionate wilderness advocacy further distinguishes their contributions as artists.

Nathan Farb (born 1941) began his photography career in New York City, but returned to his childhood home in the Adirondack Mountains in 1981 to produce large scale Cibachrome prints and three Rizzoli book publications that celebrate wilderness through expansive mountainscapes and intimate details.

Eliot Porter (1901-1990) revolutionized nature photography by setting new standards with the publication of In Wildness Is the Preservation of the World (1962) and Forever Wild: the Adirondacks (1966). Porter’s work became synonymous with the Sierra Club, an environmental organization he directed from 1965 to 1971.

In 1972, Gary Randorf (born 1937) was hired as an ecologist with the New York State Adirondack Park Agency and conducted, along with Clarence Petty, a comprehensive review of the Park’s wild, scenic, and recreational rivers. Randorf later became executive director of the Adirondack Council and led that organization’s efforts to combat acid rain’s devastating impacts on the Park during the 1970s and ’80s. He published The Adirondacks: Wild Island of Hope in 2002.

Their photographs of water—still and reflective or in furious motion—are among the finest photographic depictions of Adirondack scenery.

- Caroline M. Welsh, Guest Curator

Special thanks to Adirondack Experience, the Museum on Blue Mountain Lake, for the loan of photographs to the exhibition.

 

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