With no more than a cursory glance, you could be forgiven for overlooking the intricate visual perspective of Jeff Jones’s color photographs, now on view at the Milpas Street Corridan Gallery. What sets these images apart from other landscape photographs is the thoroughness of their vision. In order to capture the grandeur and splendor of what lies before them, landscape photographers traditionally rely upon wide-angle lenses. Jones’s works, while presented as single images of a given scene, are actually seamless mosaics composed of smaller photographs. The artist employs a short telephoto lens and systematically documents the entire scene that lies before him, resulting in images that capture his subjects from both intimate and imposing perspectives.
Technical innovation is only part of the story of this exhibition, for what is ultimately portrayed are the grand trees of two very special locales: Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. Jones unleashes his considerable visual empathy upon two Californian parks that might draw less attention than Yosemite, but are no less enchanting and seductive. Through luminescent prints, Jones leads us on a magical exploration of these natural wonderlands. From granite-strewn peaks that pierce the higher altitudes to gently flowing streams nestled deep within the valleys, Jones leaves no vista unexplored.
The range of these works can be seen in two contrasting images: “Tulainyo Lake” and “Fall Fog.” In the former, a granite peak towers above an icy crevasse, glowing light contrasting with deep shadow. The latter depicts a forest of fall foliage, its vibrant colors muted by the enshrouding mist. While the second print exhibits a much greater tonal range, it captures an equal degree of mystery. “Future Giants” exemplifies the beautiful subtlety of which Jones is capable. Here, the photographer presents a lush forest scene with his unique composite approach. Although the scene he captures is a vast vista, the sensation of viewing this image is something akin to actually standing there. Given the three hundred-odd miles separating viewer from subject, the quiet immediacy Jones delivers is no small achievement.
Join the folks at the Corridan Gallery (125 N. Milpas St.) on Sunday, December 2, from 2-5 p.m. for an afternoon with the artist. Call 966-7939 for more information.