In May of 2005 I embarked on a project to photograph the landscape of the state of Wyoming. The Cowboy State is most commonly known for its two National Parks of Grand Teton and Yellowstone and while the landscape of these two regions is visually stunning, there exists a remarkable number of lesser known natural wonders within its borders. Brett Weston once said in an interview that "Anything more than 500 yds from the car just isn't photogenic." While he was jokingly refering to photographing the landscape with a heavy and cumbersom 8x10 camera, this sentiment seems to be a common theme with contemporary landscape photography. My project aims to exhibit the backcountry and the unknown regions of Wyoming. Finding and accessing these locations has been, and will continue to be both physically and mentally challenging; as the medium and large format cameras I use add considerably to the effort required for roadless backcountry travel. I feel that the effort typically pays off and is manifested in the imagery.
It is a common notion in the realms of the arts that the artist's suffering coincides with his or her work. The painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir once noted that "The pain passes, but the beauty remains." I must say that this is a very common theme for my work. Hiking 20 miles for one photograph is not uncommon for me. The heat, the cold, the bugs, the strain of a 60 pound back; they all disappear when the light surprises me and truly unexpected display of nature's brilliance is presented in front of my camera. It is my hope that the effort exerted throughout my Wyoming Landscape Photography project is evident in the quality of the photographs.
The effort in producing this Wyoming portfolio, to this point, as not been entirely an individual endeavor. It would indeed have been impossible for me without the encouragement and support of Dr. Thomas Rosenberg, who's love and respect for the Wyoming landscape are unequalled. I would like to thank Lorena Stevens for her critical eye. Many of the photos I've taken would not have been possible without the assistance of Schuyler Arensberg, who has helped to shoulder the weight of the gear into the backcountry and has shown me some of Wyoming's most stunning scenes. I am also very grateful to all of those whom have shared their experiences and favorite, sometimes secret, places with me.
Ultimately I hope to find a suitable venue to exhibit the prints created during this project. Large format photography allows me to create stunning prints which beg to be printed large and displayed in an exquisite setting. I also intend to publish a book tentatively titled Wyoming Revealed: Fine Art Photography of the Wyoming Landscape. Please note that it will not be a guide book to some of the more interesting locations, but rather an account of my own experience finding and witnessing them, as well as encouragment for others to find and experience this planet for themselves.
I hope you enjoy the images I've made up until this point and please check back often for updates. As of now, some of the locations I have taken photographs of include: Grand Teton National Park, The Red Desert, Wind River Mountains, Green River Lakes, Red Canyon, The Oregon Buttes, Absaroka Mountains, Togwotee Pass, Continental Divide, Yellowstone National Park, and Crowheart Butte. If you are interested in discussing the advance purchase of one of these photographs as a limited edition fine art print, please feel free to contact me directly at 307-699-1535 or via email. You can also see some of my notes and other thoughts on photography at my blog at www.jansengunderson.com.
--Jansen L. Gunderson