Eternal Landscape

Emil Schulthess, Author
Emil Schulthess, Author Alfred A. Knopf $60 (139p) ISBN 978-0-394-57144-7
Reviewed on: 09/01/1988
Release date: 09/01/1988
These 63 full-color photographs by Schulthess, accompanied by a brief text by Widmer that provides geological and historical background, evoke the harsh, stark magnitude of the American Southwest. Deserts, rivers, dunes, gorges and mountains from the area's wilderness hold the eye not only by force of their scope but because the photographer perceives their depth of detail. The sandstone walls of Canyon de Chelly in Arizona reveal wrinkles by the acre in a subtle range of shades of brown from burnt to tawny. Rock formations in Arizona and Utah's Monument Valley rise plump and gnarled, seemingly from the middle of nowhere and infinitely varied. Swarming out into Arizona and Utah's Lake Powell, the scalloped edges of plateaux lie basking, in a mysterious hierarchy. Even the simple clarity of a cloud can be striking, in Schulthess's pictures. When such clarity is multiplied many times over, as in his three-foot foldout of the Grand Canyon, the result is distinctly illusionistic, and imagination must balk at reality. Though not all the photographs are arrestingsome are not sufficiently specific and become conventional and stageySchulthess's rotating aerial camera has in general lived up to the challenge of his subject. (November)
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