Growing up in Orange County, I never questioned the Southern California lifestyle. The communities were carefully planned, lawns perfectly manicured, cars washed and polished. My friends and I had common goals which were somewhat defined by this environment. My life seemed to be moving smoothly and predictably toward these goals. The first occurred at a local community college. The school's gallery was displaying the work of a photographer I had never heard of---Ansel Adams. Then a few months later, I was in a visitor center in Zion National Park. While waiting for a friend, I started thumbing through some books on display. I picked up a book called Desert Solitaire by Edward Abbey. Adams’ photographs became an inspiration and a catalyst that touched a creative nerve which had been dormant. Abbey's irreverent humor and the aggressive environmental activism he advocated made me reconsider my life's priorities. I used photography as a model of both artistic expression and as a means to draw attention to the beauty of the natural world. The book showed me a way to appreciate nature and to value it in a way I had never before considered.


I usually set out on photographic trips with a few specific goals. Generally, I just drive. I let the landscape wash over me. Sometimes, views present themselves so easily I feel kind of guilty taking the picture. But much more often, I end the day parked on some alluvial fan with a beer in one hand and some beef jerky in the other, listening to my current musical obsession playing on the car stereo. That's OK, it's not all business, fun counts too.

 

The photographs I present are straight, unmanipulated images. While I have shot scenes on Tri-x film, I now shoot digitally and upload to my processing computer to correct in Photoshop. This is where dodging, burning, spotting, and cropping techniques are applied. The final digital pigment prints on archival paper is the result. These images represent not only a place, but a feeling as well. I hope you take as much pleasure in viewing them as I did in taking them.

 

Dennis Dunton Photography