An Elegy for the Earth
Imprint: George F Thompson Publishing
156 Pages, 11.8 x 9.5 in, 89 photographs: 73 duotone and 16 color photographs
- June 2023
- In Stock
Climate change is the great existential reality of our time. How we approach this crisis will affect life on Earth for present and future generations. In spite of our collective ideals, irreversible damage to the environment is imminent and represents urgent local and global concern. Through artfully rendered photographs of an acutely endangered landscape, Oceano: An Elegy for the Earth explores the deep paradox between the devout, powerful presence of nature and environmental loss and damage.
Extending eighteen miles along Central California’s famed coastline and divided into both a natural preserve and a state vehicular recreation area, the Oceano Dune complex has long fascinated photographers such as Ansel Adams and Edward and Brett Weston. The ephemeral, ever-changing landscape here expresses a sublime order and reflects many correlations between land and the dynamics of human society. Using metaphors that inspire hope and explore impermanence and darkness contrasted with the purity of suffusing light, Ulrich’s photographs have been likened to Mark Rothko’s “silence and solitude” that express the resonance and subtle dimensions of consciousness.
The coastal environment of the Oceano Dunes is tempered by multiple threats such as incessant motorized activity, the toxicity of surrounding industrial-scale agriculture, and some of the worst air quality in the nation. Thus, for the book’s sequence of images, the photographer employs the literary form of an elegy, an extended reflection and lamentation on Earth during the early twenty-first century. An elegy refers to a poetic reflection of sorrow and love, often for a transient, mortal entity. As Ulrich writes: “Sorrow and love for Earth, indeed. No better articulation exists for my regard for our dying planet and common mother.”
“The works presented in Oceano: An Elegy for the Earth are elegantly crafted, visually stunning and hauntingly poetic. One falls in love with each work for the meditative stillness and graphic simplicity of the images that trigger memories of what we as humans have been fortunate enough to have and at the same time what we are in real danger of losing forever. These quiet but powerful images present a call to arms for us to take climate change seriously and to take action to mitigate the dangers before it is too late.” ~Carol and Sanit Khewhok, Curators, Hawaii Pacific University Art Gallery
“An impressive and compelling compendium of un-captioned, full page photos… is a particularly recommended addition.” ~Midwest Book Review