Thursday, July 02, 2009

As I have made mention to during the last several days, I have been involved, on and off for over a week, in a pretty major project . . . digitizing (is there such a term?) my complete slide film library. I had noticed recently when going through some images of a trip to Europe back in the summer of 1966, seeking some interesting material for possible upcoming drawings, that a number of these 40 plus year old slides had begun to deteriorate and mold was actually growing on a number of them. As I did not want to just lose all this valuable information, I decided to begin to make digital images of everything and save to disc so I would have a good future record of all this great material, some of which I have not reviewed for 25 years or more.

As the days have passed, I have been transported back to, among many other places, my first three trips to Africa, that wonderful summer of '66 touring Europe for two months, several trips through the Canadian Rockies and along the coast of British Columbia, the Pacific Northwest and on down the coast to northern California, and the American Southwest.

As I mentioned above, it is surely at least 25 years since I have looked at any of my film from a 1970 trip to the Grand Canyon. I know it has been said many times before and many, many times by people whose words are far more singular than mine, but that place is overpowering, inspirational and just takes the breath away.

I had forgotten, till reviewing these Kodachrome memories, just how much a few days spent wondering the canyon edge and one spectacular day hike down to Plateau Point on the Bright Angel Trail left me with so many wonderful images; images that now flood my brain and have quite amazingly brought me back to the feel of the place, the incredible quiet and memory of what it was like to sit out on the south rim on three consecutive evenings to watch the sun slowly disappear in the west as a rainbow of color moved back across the shear walls of the canyon, vibrating in shades of orange and rust and mauve and deep purple.

Many years ago, I did two works with reference made to the Canyon and my time there, but it has been decades since I last even thought about making use of any of those images. During the couple of hours that it took to turn these slides into digital images, any number of ideas hit me and I singled out quite a few of those images to set aside and look at again to see if the spark can kindle some interesting compositional idea. But even if nothing develops in the way of an idea or two for a drawing, just having had this wonderful chance to relive that week in the southwest has left me smiling.

One thing is for certain . . . the Grand Canyon is a place that everyone should behold and experience at least once in their life. See for yourself . . .


Honor Martinez said...

Yes, everyone should see it. I took a small plane down into the canyon with my children back in about 78. Your photos capture the beauty. Wish I had done the same.

Michael Bailey said...

I live in Flagstaff south of the canyon and try and visit the park as often as I can. It IS one of the most imspiring, enthralling, and as you said, breathtaking experiences you can ever have in your life. As one friend upon viewing it for the first time remarked, "It literally made my knees weak to see such an awesome creation of nature" Thanks of sharing some beautiful photos of one of the, if not THE, greatest natural wonder on the planet.

karryl said...

I am amazed that you were able to accomplish all that "digitizing" in just a few days!! It makes me dizzy thinking about it. I know how many thousands of photos that must have been! I am inspired to get into my collection now too. It would be a shame to have it all go to mold.