Western eye

Posted on | September 21, 2009 | No Comments


"Storm over the Green River" taken in Canyonlands National Park, Utah. Photograph: Robert Turner. Image courtesy of the artist. All rights reserved.

ONE of the first things that people ask photographer Robert Turner on seeing “Storm over the Green River” is if it’s a painting or if it’s been photo-shopped to look like a painting.

“It’s absolutely a straight photograph,” he laughs. “I think there are several reasons it looks like a classic 19th century Thomas Moran landscape,” he says. “It was taken just before sunset during a storm.  That clouding effect in the background is caused by rain. And it’s a five-second exposure, so it has a gauzy look to it.”

The composition also has much to do with the painterly quality, he thinks. “It has a very strong diagonal and a sort of implied diagonal going the other way, so it leads your eye way, way back in the picture. Nature created that white rim around the canyon in the background and then that gnarly piece of juniper does have a spooky sort of surreal quality. You put all that together and, for some reason, it does looks like a romantic painting.”

The image is part of a newly opened exhibit of Turner’s photographs “Rare Places in a Rare Light” at the G2 Gallery in Venice. It runs through November 8th and proceeds go to conservation causes. Click here to see the beneficiaries.

This post has been updated.


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