Photo exhibit finds beauty in an elemental part of earth

Consider landscape images and you usually photo huge, remarkable vistas: mountain ranges marching into the length, the sweeping grasslands and acacia trees of the African savanna, the picturesque valleys of the Scottish Highlands.

But as a new image exhibit in Northampton’s Forbes Library demonstrates, there is loads of magnificence — and historical past — to be located in some of the smaller sized facts of nature.

The exhibit, at the Hosmer Gallery, characteristics the do the job of photographers Rhea Banker and Paul Hetzel. Banker features an artistic appear at the Svalbard Archipelago, a cluster of rocky, glacial islands just 500 miles from the North Pole, though Hetzel’s shots spotlight the natural coloring and patterns in rock formations — what he calls “Nature’s Palette.”

Banker, who lives in Shelburne Falls, is also a reserve designer who has spent substantially of her photographic occupation exploring northern lands — Scotland, the Outer Hebrides, Greenland — as well as Tierra del Fuego, the southern idea of South The united states. In an job interview, she explained her interest in photographing this terrain very first developed in the course of a trip to Scotland, which she claims has some of the oldest rock formations on earth.

“So significantly of the record of the earth is written in rocks,” said Banker, whose pictures have been exhibited in Scotland, Denmark, Greenland, the U.S. and other areas. “They actually convey to stories of the earlier.”

In the drop of 2019, she was invited to just take aspect in a residency program, The Arctic Circle, that delivers with each other artists, experts, educators and other individuals to analyze the Svalbard Archipelago, one particular of the quickest-warming places on the world. Members traveled close to the islands in a specially outfitted sailing ship and also frequented chosen areas on shore.

Banker’s photographs capture both equally the forbidding majesty of this environment, exactly where enormous, striated walls of rock come down to the sea, and lesser specifics, this kind of as colourful styles of various rock just beneath a portion of shallow drinking water. She also uncovered new sections of rock that have been unveiled, potentially for the initial time in hundreds of years, as glaciers on the archipelago have retreated due to local climate change.

“What we ended up actually striving to do there was bear witness,” Banker explained. “Not only are glaciers retreating, the seas are soaring.”

At the similar time, on the lookout at some of this modify from an inventive perspective has its charm. As she writes in exhibit notes, “I turned fascinated by the textures, hues, and types now turning out to be noticeable beneath the melting ice and snow. As glaciers recede, the Earth reveals formations of the land’s previous and hints at its not known foreseeable future.”

Banker delivers a particular abstraction to her photos, which have titles such as “Blomestrandbreen Landscape” and feature extraordinary arrays of color and texture some of them may well go for shut-up shots of crystals.

The charm in photographing these particulars of rock, she claims, is documenting the way rock is transformed more than time by ice, drinking water, heat, stress and other organic forces.

Sadly, Banker provides, local weather modify now has develop into a single of those forces. She has lived and traveled in the western portion of Greenland above quite a few many years, documenting small village life by means of her photos and also instructing, and she suggests warming temperatures are disrupting existence for Indigenous peoples there who have lengthy relied on fishing, hunting and touring in excess of ice on wooden sleds.

Natural coloring

For his portion, Paul Hetzel of Springfield notes in a assertion about his element of the Hosmer exhibit: “Artists produce vivid paintings with the use of colour pigments. Mom Mother nature makes similarly vivid shade and styles secondary to minerals and pigments identified in soil and rock.”

Hetzel, a retired oncologist, took up photography critically right after hiking on trails around Mount Everest in 1994. A member of the Pioneer Valley Photographic Artists, an casual group of seasoned photographers, he has traveled thoroughly above the past 2½ decades, equally in the U.S. and abroad, in lookup of landscape photograph opportunities.

Some of all those excursions have been with organizations that cater precisely to photographers, including one particular on which he traveled by boat up the east coast of Greenland, visiting Scoresby Sund (or Sound), the longest fjord process in the environment. Many others have been with good friends, specially to destinations in the American West and Southwest — Utah, Arizona, California, Oregon.

It was though viewing a person of his beloved spots in the West — Valley of Fireplace, a point out park in Nevada recognised for its dramatic purple sandstone formations and ancient petroglyphs — some yrs back again that Hetzel came across some significantly vivid coloured gradations on a canyon wall.

He states it happened to him then that “I really ought to go through my photos and cull these parts that discuss to this awesome coloring you get [on rock] from weathering and erosion.”

“Nature’s Palette” presents various sights of this undulating coloring from western U.S. spots these as Valley of Hearth Capitol Reef Countrywide Park and Boulder Mountain, both equally in Utah Badlands Countrywide Park in South Dakota and the California coast and Sierra Mountains. But Hetzel notes that this type of weathering takes place everywhere you go, and his exhibit involves photos from New Zealand, Iceland, and western Massachusetts.

Specifically putting are some images from the John Working day Fossil Beds in north-central Oregon, a U.S. Nationwide Monument of badlands and desert that consists of nicely-preserved levels of fossil vegetation and mammals. Some of Hetzel’s photos showcase compact, varied dim styles from multicolored partitions that surface as nevertheless they’ve been created by human palms — petroglyphs? — alternatively than by nature.

A different spotlight is a segment of marble wall in King’s Canyon National Park in California, exactly where dozens of traces of multicolored, banded marble zigzag throughout the image. And all through a journey to Iceland very last summertime, Hetzel photographed quick flowing rivers that, whole of glacial melt and silt — he calls them “braided rivers” — create stunning and colorful summary kinds.

As a great deal as he’s liked touring for his images, Hetzel suggests he is familiar with some of these landscapes are threatened. On his excursion to Greenland, in 2017, he photographed the Northern Lights, crystalline icebergs, glaciers, and miles of rugged shoreline. But, he said, “You ponder how considerably it will change … I’m glad I acquired to see it when I did.”

The show of Banker and Hetzel’s work is on look at by way of Jan. 30.