Oceano: An Elegy for the Earth
A masterful series of photographs highlight the fragile beauty of a highly threatened landscape: the Oceano Dunes on the Central California Coast.
George F. Thompson Publishing
$45.00 U.S. (trade discount)
148 pages with 79 duotone photographs and 8 color photographs by the author = 87
11.875" x 9.5" landscape
Extending eighteen miles along Central California's famed coastline, the Oceano Dune complex has long fascinated photographers and artists. The ephemeral, ever-changing landscape expresses a sublime order and reflects the many correlations between nature and human consciousness.
The coastal landscape of Oceano encompasses sharp contradictions, divided into a protected natural preserve and a vehicular recreation area for dune buggies and trail bikes. To render this fragile and acutely endangered landscape, David Ulrich explores the deep paradox between the powerful presence of the land and environmental loss and damage. By contrasting the dunes' darkness and shadows with the purity of their suffusing light, Ulrich's photographs become visual metaphors that inspire hope yet suggest impermanence, rendering comparisons to the "silence and solitude" of Mark Rothko's paintings.
The incredible beauty of the Oceano and Guadalupe Dunes is tempered by an awareness of the incessant motorized activity and a multitude of environmental threats, including some of the worst air pollution in the nation and the ecological impact of the area's industrial-scale agriculture, extensive oil wells, and natural gas fields. To create a sense of this special place, Ulrich turns to the literary form of an elegy, creating moody, surreal, and sumptuous images that embrace the wonder of nature and our transient, mortal existence.
Oceano: An Elegy for the Earth is an extended celebration, meditation, and lamentation of our time on Earth. As Ulrich shares: "Sorrow and love for Earth, indeed. No better articulation exists for my regard for our dying planet and common mother."
Advance Praise for Oceano: An Elegy for the Earth
"The works presented in Oceano: An Elegy for the Earth are elegantly crafted, visually stunning and hauntingly poetic. One falls in love with each work for the meditative stillness and graphic simplicity of the images that trigger memories of what we as humans have been fortunate enough to have and at the same time what we are in real danger of losing forever. These quiet but powerful images present a call to arms for us to take climate change seriously and to take action to mitigate the dangers before it is too late."
—Carol and Sanit Khewhok, Curators, Hawai'i Pacific University Art Gallery