The Grand Canyon is wild and unforgiving. But it is also one of the most stunning landscapes on Earth—a place for recreation, reflection and reverence. A new Smithsonian exhibition allows us to marvel at this natural wonder without camping equipment, emergency rations or rappelling ropes.
Featuring 60 color photographs, “Lasting Light: 125 Years of Grand Canyon Photography” is a collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service and the Grand Canyon Association. The exhibition will be on view at the Museum from October 13, 2012 through January 5, 2013, and will continue on a national tour through the remainder of the year.
“Lasting Light” reveals the dedication of those who have attempted to capture the Grand Canyon on film from the earliest days to modern times. Covering nearly 125 years of photographic history, the exhibition includes images of early photographers dangling from cables to get the perfect shot, their cumbersome camera equipment balanced precariously on their shoulders. More modern images are bold and dramatic, revealing the canyon’s capricious weather, its flora and fauna, waterfalls and wading pools, and awe-inspiring cliffs and rock formations. The stunning contemporary images were selected by representatives from Eastman Kodak’s Professional Photography Division and National Geographic.
Grand Canyon National Park, 2,000 square miles of snaking river beds and sheer rock walls, is a world like no other, where vibrant cliffs and flowing water create a striking complement to the Western sky. “What you do is keep it for your children, your children’s children, and for all who come after you, as one of the great sights which every American should see,” Teddy Roosevelt urged. Roosevelt, ever the naturalist, was just one of the canyon’s devotees. There are millions of others, including the 26 featured photographers of “Lasting Light,” who ran the river and climbed the rocks to capture these breathtaking images.
“The Grand Canyon taught me a way of seeing. How to see light and design,” said featured photographer John Blaustein. This and other intriguing narratives accompany the spectacular photographs, giving audiences the artists’ personal insight into the power of the Canyon.