That the Grand Canyon would become one of the most visited sites in the world - four million tourists from around the world make the journey to northwestern Arizona each year - must have seemed implausible to the government scientists who first explored it on horseback and in rigid wooden boats in the latter years of the nineteenth century. To persuade government officials of the importance of protecting this unparalled site, great artists and photographers were included on the expeditions to record its ancient geologic formations and depict its awe-inspiring vistas.
Works by these early artists and photographers, as well as color-filled contemporary photography, are included in this sumptuous volume, which captures the visual grandeur of the canyon that inspires awe, pride, and reverence in all visitors. The large horizontal format, designed to express this expansive landscape, includes four foldout plates and more than 150 color plates.
Photographers Jack Hillers, William Bell, and Timothy O'Sullivan illustrated the first government reports with images that reveal the canyon's vastness and complexity. Painters, especially Thomas Moran, expressed the extraordinary beauty of the place and formed the majestic image of it that remains an icon of the American landscape.
Contemporary photographers reveal the splendor of the Grand Canyon from all vantage points, at all seasons. David Muench and Tom Bean have specialized in photographing the natural world and are frequently published - by the Sierra Club and National Geographic Society among others. John Blaustein focused on white-water rapids and riverine views from the Colorado River where he worked for many summers as a boatman. Greg Probst, formerly staff photographer for the National Park Service at the Grand Canyon, is committed to both celebrating and preserving this special place. D.T. DeDomenico documented the historic photographs and art collection at Grand Canyon National Park and interpreted the canyon's natural beauty from the rim and the river. The flora, fauna, and mineral worlds of the canyon have been captured by patient and skilled photographers Paul Vucetich and John Running in many detailed pictures. Large-format views, shot by Dana Levy on a special panoroma camera, and aerial photography, done by Michael Goltier, capture the changing vista of the canyon with an enhanced acuity impossible for earlier artists.
Nothing can replace a trip to the Grand Canyon, but the modern tourist will enjoy comparing experiences with early visitors whose impressions are documented. Stunning photographs capture the many moods of the canyon - glowing in the setting sun, cloaked with snow, illuminated under the full moon, sparked with lightening from a summer storm - forming a visual hymn to the power of nature and the glory of creation.
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