The Black Place.
Photographs by Walter W. Nelson.
Museum Of New Mexico Press, Santa Fe, 2014. 108 pp., 65 color illustrations, 11x12".
Signed copies available!
Few people have ventured into the remote, uninhabited badlands of the Navajo Reservations in north-west New Mexico known, by the artist who made it famous, as the Black Place. During the 1930s abd 1940s OKeeffe and her friend Maria Chabot braved the harsh conditions of baking heat in summer, bitter cold in winter, and ferocious winds to make many camping trips to the area that inspired one of the great outpourings of creativity in OKeeffes artistic life. Photographer Walter W Nelson, who shares with OKeeffe what writer Douglas Preston calls 'a great affinity for geology' went in search of the Black Place twenty years ago and has returned over thirty times to photograph it, first in black-and-white with large format 8x10 camera and, over the last five years, in colour with a digital camera. The two seasons of his title refer to the fact that in this region virtually devoid of vegetation, only the presence of snow visually distinguishes the landscape from the non-winter months. Inexhaustible in scope, with geological complexity dating back some sixty-six million years, the Black Place must be patiently experienced for its mystery and infinitude and deep secrets of time.