With his latest series of photos now on view at wall space gallery, 2012 L’Iris d’Or Sony Photographer of the Year Mitch Dobrowner opens multiple windows onto what appears to be another world, a place full of the most dramatic mesas, spires, and rock columns imaginable. These places, however, only look like they are on a different planet. They are reachable, but only by those intrepid enough to travel for days at a time into the most remote areas of the desert Southwest. Dobrowner captures these hauntingly detailed and intensely spacious images through a process that eschews digital aftereffects in favor of carefully planned exposures that require extraordinary patience and years of experience to achieve.
Dobrowner stopped by the gallery on Saturday, August 15, to talk about his approach and comment on some of the images. He described a weeklong trip into the Devil’s Kitchen area of Canyonlands National Park as an example of the “blood, sweat, and tears” required to create this kind of work. “I was filthy because I hadn’t showered in a week, and all I wanted to do was go home. But on the last night, we gathered our stuff and began hiking well before dawn. To get the shot I wanted, I had a window of about 30 seconds before the sunrise while the light was still in the low contrast that I prefer.” The resulting image percolates with seemingly endless intricacy of detail; every rock and shadow stipples the surface of the print, resulting in an aching textural embrace of the land. For Dobrowner, the goal is always the same, “to capture what nature has given me.”