Antarctica and Namibia are two locations in this incredible world that most people do not get the opportunity to travel to. They aren't easy to get to and they aren't exactly the most welcoming terrains. Completely undeterred by their attempts to keep visitors away, I made my way to these two far reaching places.
The resulting collections, Antarctica and Namibia, are what make up my Private Collection, which I created to truly emphasize the unique perspective and artistic mentality these series represent. Each photograph is specially printed on museum quality paper to ensure longevity and each of these series offer low editions, which increase the overall value of the art.
Come with me as I take you behind the scenes of these two remarkable shoots.
Drawn to the rich landscapes of the sparsely populated country of Namibia, I created this body of work in one of the most hauntingly beautiful places on earth. At the base of the tallest sand dune in the world sits a thousand-year-old clay pan named ‘Dead Vlei’, or ‘Dead Marsh’. Once fed by a river, the pan gave birth to many camel thorn trees before the dunes shifted a thousand years ago, blocking the river and drying the pan.
I had planned this shoot for nearly 6 months but nothing could have prepared me when first driving into the Sossusvlei National Park. It was like entering an exotic cousin of the Sahara desert - gigantic, steep red sand dunes curved along the horizon on either side of the vehicle. Each dune projected gradient purple shadows on the sides, not yet fully lit by the rising sun.
The pastel sky, deep red dunes, purple shadows and amber grass was an absolutely divine effect! We watched with glowing eyes as we soon arrived at the largest sand dune in the world, ‘Big Daddy.'
Dried to a crisp, the white silt pan is filled with 900 year old skeletons of old Camel Thorn trees that cease to decompose due to the lack of moisture. These trees were the muse for my project and the shining stars of our day.
After a few hours, we climbed up the foot of Big Daddy and shot the beach umbrella - the same beach umbrella I photographed in Antarctica - on the side of the dune. It was very special to see it set up on the highest sand dune in the world and to compare this scene to my trip to Antarctica, where the umbrella was planted deep in the snow of an Ice Age old glacier.
Which segways beautifully into the other focus from the Private Collection, Antarctica.
Antarctica is the last true wilderness of our planet and it is dramatically changing just as we are starting to recognize and understand its great significance. Journeying by boat from South America, I was drawn to the natural landscape of the glacier covered continent as well as the formations of the freely floating icebergs.
Using select items to provide contrast, this series captures two parallels coming together and presents a larger message about the changing landscape of our world due to shifting climates.
The greatest challenge in creating this body of work was the unpredictable weather and erratic shifting ice. I witnessed million-year-old glaciers the size of skyscrapers break off the glacial shelves and disintegrate into the ocean. This series changed my perspective of our world and I hope its beauty will influence others.
One particularly memorable night was when we witnessed a sunset so majestic it could make you cry freezing ice tears. The 24 hours of daylight aren't too conducive to sunsets so this was a special presentation.
Accomplishing trips to both destinations was a dream come true and I could not be more proud of the resulting images. I hope you have enjoyed this trip down memory lane with me, and I also hope to have shed a little more light on what the inspiration and reasoning was behind the Private Collection.
I am very excited to be adding a new series to this collection very soon. Stay tuned to see what remarkable location it will be!
In the meantime, though here's a favorite lesson learned in Namibia...the true way to open a bottle of champs!