The art of being Californian, it seems, is to cultivate a loose-limbed insouciance while secretly working away like a frantic ant.

--Richard Fortey The Earth: An Intimate History

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Galen Rowell: A Retrospective

A collection of Galen Rowell's photography that spans his lifetime and the globe. Mostly breathtaking landscapes taken from his hikes and climbing adventures. Some portraits of people and animals. Photos are accompanied by essays written by those who Rowell influenced in his life.

I love that Rowell was committed to taking the picture as the eye/camera sees it without any post-shot manipulations. Using filters and film, he was able to beautifully duplicate what the eye so readily perceives. Because he wasn't going to modify the photo after the shot, Rowell had to plan his pictures very carefully over the course of time, watching the light. That said, he was also a master of constant preparation so that he would be ready to take an unforeseen shot. Many of his photographs are taken while suspended from a sheer rock face.

Rowell was committed to his passion. So much so, that he stopped living a secure life in 1960 (being settled, owning his own business) in order to exclusively pursue a dream that had little basis in his reality at the time. Rowell refused to settle as a hobbyist. He was constantly engaged in the discipline of his artistic process whether it be climbing, camping, writing, photographing, so that he would be prepared for anything life threw at him.

His daily pursuit of his passions reminds me of others I know personally. Those who know that time is how we fill it and fill theirs with things that make their spirits thrive. Also, they know that we can't just sit around and wait for life to happen. We have to actively engage in life. Actively discipline ourselves. Actively create and in doing so be artists.
That is difficult to do. I want to be like this. I want to drive from the tip of Baja to the arctic circle on small highways and back roads. I want to see the Northernmost piece of land in Greenland and the Southernmost in Antarctica. But I also want to be able to drive--in my backyard, so to speak--up the 395 and see the heart-breaking beauty that Rowell so perfectly captured.

Mostly I want to live. Wherever I am to find joy in life.

1 comment:

  1. I Mostly want those things too. Like all the time non stop!!