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for people who care about the West

See new pictures of the desert’s natural art

In ‘Death Valley: Painted Light,’ the landscape takes on abstract forms.


“Death Valley is a destination for the visually curious,” says essayist Rebecca Senf in her introduction to Death Valley: Painted Light, a collection of photographs and ruminations by photographer and author Stephen E. Strom and poet Alison Hawthorne Deming. Strom has been photographing the area for more than 35 years, and his strikingly minimalist images illuminate its otherworldly shapes and geometric surprises. Many are simple texture shots, revealing the desert’s unexpected nuances: The dimpled sand on a vast landscape, for instance, at first glance resembles nothing more than a spackled sheet of old wallpaper.  Deming’s poems are equally sprawling and textured, using scenes of Death Valley to tap into deeper themes. “Sometimes it seems as if time is the material of which we’re made. Grain by grain we add up like sand ground down to gritty beads by an archaic sea.”

Death Valley: Painted Light
Photographs by Stephen E. Strom; Poems by Alison Hawthorne Deming; Essay by Rebecca Senf
184 pages, hardcover, $50.
George F. Thompson Publishing, 2016