Imprint: George F Thompson Publishing
112 Pages, 11.8 x 9.5 in, 63 photographs reproduced as tritones
- June 2023
- In Stock
The National Park Service was established by an act of Congress in 1916 to “preserve unimpaired the natural and cultural resources and values of the National Park System for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations.” This directive to protect wilderness yet provide accessibility to it without somehow compromising the integrity of the natural resources seems to be a self-fulfilling contradiction and an arena for conflicting priorities.
In Park Place, photographer David Heberlein explores the tension between access and enjoyment and preservation of America’s public lands. From 1992 to 2019, he traveled throughout the American West and visited thirty-five national parks, monuments, and recreation areas. His stunning photographs, made in the course of his many journeys, document the human presence within the national parks and monuments of the American West. They allude to human influence both through the marks we make on the land—whether temporary or permanent—and through the presence of visitors who appear in numerous shapes and sizes performing a variety of familiar sightseeing activities. These shifting scenarios provide compelling photographic documentation of the multiple roles that national parks and monuments play and the ongoing need to balance the human impact on nature with the preservation of wild places.
Park Place features sixty-four tritone photographs by David Heberlein along with an introductory essay by the photographer and an afterword. It promises to be a welcome addition to a longstanding tradition of artists, writers, and photographers heading out West to see and explore and interpret America’s national treasures.
“David Heberlein’s Park Place: Out West offers a fresh meditation on the complex relationship between humans and what we term ‘wilderness.’ This quest for proximity to the natural world has led us to seek out the wild, yet we do not wish to leave behind our creature comforts. Heberlein’s wry photographs reveal our longing to be a part of, instead of apart from, nature. Often cloaked in humor or irony, these images are emblematic of our hunger for natural vistas coupled with our collective fear of destroying the planet, as if to experience it for the last time.” ~Michelle Van Parys, Professor of Art Emerita, College of Charleston, and author of The Way Out West: Desert Landscapes
“The American wilderness, if it ever truly existed, is long gone. The health of planet Earth has been severely compromised by human actions, but, as seminal landscape photographer Mark Klett has reminded viewers for decades, there is still so much beauty. And the human desire to go adventuring and to experience the wonders of the world with our own eyes and feet continues on. Especially if there is good parking and decent restrooms. Heberlein's elegant and gently humorous photographs wonderfully capture the moment in which we find ourselves, burning fossil fuel to get out into the landscape and take selfies in sanctioned scenic spots. Yes, the saguaros are interspersed with utility poles, but he doesn't begrudge us the thrill of discovery on our own terms. Park Place: Out West is a distinctive contribution to the ongoing dialog about the human relationship with nature and a reminder to all of us to get up off the couch and see what's out there!” ~Katherine Ware, Curator of Photography, New Mexico Museum of Art, and author of Man Ray, 1890–1976 and Earth Now: American Photographers and the Environment
“Over many years, I’ve watched David Heberlein patiently pursue a visual examination of a particular western place. The idea of those places as preserved acreage of wilderness runs counter to the position of them as theme parks. Within that dichotomy Heberlein has focused on the ‘act of looking’ offering moments of quiet discovery and wry incongruities. That he has accomplished this with grace and insight is a testament to his photographic skills and his tenacity.” ~Wayne Gudmundson is Professor of Photography at Minnesota State University
“It is, perhaps, one of the most enjoyable books of American nature photography ever made… Stunningly printed, and with great attention to toning, it at times feels like somebody gave Ansel Adams a Xanax.” ~New York Journal of Books
“Especially and unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, community, and academic library American Photography collections… [this] will prove to be a welcome addition to a longstanding tradition of artists, writers—as well as amateur and professional photographers heading out West to see and explore and interpret America's national treasures.” ~Midwest Book Review