The first time I went to photograph Upper Antelope Canyon and Lower Antelope Canyon in the state of Arizona in the United States, I did not know what to expect. I had seen color photographs in various magazines. I expected an immense natural space with colorful striated rock formations.
I arrived with my tripod, my photo bag and my landscape photographer equipment. I was completely surprised when I discovered passages so narrow that I had to remove my bag from my shoulders. I had to slip between two walls barely 50 centimeters (20 inches) apart. Once inside, I discovered two small tunnels which only permitted one person to pass through at once. Each tunnel barely measures a hundred meters (330 feet).
At the time, I only captured colored images because the use of color is more common than black and white when photographing the canyons. The photographic harvest of these photo sessions was poor. I have not kept any photos. None of them looked like something I would make. I had not managed to capture the beautiful atmosphere and depth of the place.
It was not until my third trip that I finally saw and understood how to photograph these natural treasures that lay before me.
I came to understand that black and white photography is the perfect technique for photographing these two tiny mineral canyons lost in the wild near the city of Page in Arizona.
The use of black and white allowed me to show the feelings of softness and tranquility that I experience in these two unique places.
Some shapes evoke human faces that are naturally drawn in the rock. The lights reveal a mysterious temporal vortex which catch us if we allow our imagination to wander.
When I walk in the two canyons, the orange colors of the fossilized sand undoubtedly evoke a landscape of Mars in my imagination. Water has eroded the canyons over time, creating bridges and arches. At the sign of these curved and tortuous formations, I always have the impression that nature wanted to tell us something in a language that belongs only to her. I do not have the keys to decrypt nature’s messages. As my imagination wanders, I perceive an old Indian chief carved into the rock. After a bend, I encounter the face and the hair of a radiant mermaid.
Antelope Canyon is in Navajo territory. Perhaps it is the spirits of the ancestors who drew these forms to transmit messages to us that we cannot decipher.
These little tunnels, each one extraordinary in shape, resemble a network of arteries and veins of a mineralized heart. What if the canyons were the nerve center and the heart of the Navajo nation? I now always feel this sense of mysticism each time I visit.
Black and white photography is the most successful technique for enhancing the soft textures of the upper and lower Antelope Canyon arches. The play of light and shadow makes you want to reach out and stroke the perfect grain of the rock. For me, these mineral decorations evoke a sense of a romantic relationship.
I hope this collection of black and white art prints give you chills as you encounter the spirits of the Navajo people.
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