Death Valley
160 pages, 12 x 7 3/4
72 photographs, 4 color maps
Release Date:17 May 2016

Death Valley

Painted Light

George F. Thompson Publishing
Death Valley is the lowest, driest, and hottest area in North America. Located about 150 miles (241 kilometers) west of Las Vegas near the border of California and Nevada, it straddles an area of about 3,000 square miles (770 square kilometers). A land of extremes and contrasts, it includes Telescope Peak that towers over the valley at 11,049 feet elevation (3,367 meters) and an oasis that provides habitat for the endangered Devils Hole Pupfish (Cyprinodon diabolis). Designated a national monument in 1933 and expanded into a national park in 1994, its rugged yet otherworldly beautiful landscape now attracts more than 1,000,000 visitors per year.

Attracted by the distinctive topography and light of Death Valley, Stephen Strom, a renowned professor of astrophysics, began regularly traveling there some thirty-five years ago. His acute eye for abstract, almost pointillist compositions not only reveals the patterns and effects of geologic forces over millennia, but it also takes in the vast, colorful sweep of land and sky as well as the land’s myriad details—volcanic cinder cones and sand dunes, dry lakes and salt pans, colorful badlands and canyons, and pine-studded mountains—that give the area its distinctive and varied character.

Strom’s photographs are complemented by Alison Hawthorne Deming’s original sequence of poems, written for this book, that are as luminous and detailed as the images themselves. And Rebecca A. Senf’s perceptive essay situates Strom’s work within the canon of those photographers who have inspired and mentored him, including Ansel Adams, Harry Callahan, Keith McElroy, Eliot Porter, Frederic Sommer, and Max Yavno. Death Valley: Painted Light is a book unlike any other about a landscape whose topographic relief and sheer beauty are unforgettable.
Stephen Strom is both a research astronomer and fine-art photographer. His works, largely interpretations of landscapes, have been exhibited throughout the United States and is held in several permanent collections, including the Center for Creative Photography in Tucson, Arizona; the University of Oklahoma Art Museum; the Mead Museum in Amherst, Massachusetts; and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. He has published six previous books of photography.

Alison Hawthorne Deming, an award-winning poet and essayist, is the Agnese Nelms Haury Chair of Environment and Social Justice at the University of Arizona, Tucson. She is the author of eleven books of nonfiction and poetry, including Zoologies: On Animals and the Human Spirit. She is the recipient of the Walt Whitman Award of the Academy of American Poets.

Rebecca A. Senf is the Norton Family Curator of Photography, a joint appointment at the Center for Creative Photography in Tucson and the Phoenix Art Museum.
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