I have spent a great deal of time in Big Bend. I was first there during my Artpace residency, years ago. I fell in love with its remoteness and vast stretches of land and sky. It felt like what I imagined Texas would be, and with each visit, I see something new. I love being there because I feel the isolation of the desert. You can spend days in the backcountry without seeing anyone, and immersed in this solitude, you can begin to connect on a deeper level with the natural world and take notice of smaller things, such as cactus blooms and strange colored rocks.
In one of the pictures I made from here, Looking towards Mexico from the Chisos Mountains, Big Bend National Park, Texas, 2020, you can begin to understand the geography. I hiked an entire day upwards to take this picture from one of the high points. The views were incredible. The blue sky seemed to radiate on the mountain peaks, which is why I knew I had to print the picture in a blue hue. After watching the landscapes I photograph through the camera, I begin to take note of peculiar characteristics of color and light. Sometimes I end up staring into the sun while focusing my camera and I see colors and shapes that are not really there. This experience sometimes influences the color of my work, and to me, this color is what the place actually feels like – an embodiment of the place.
I have photographed Big Bend many times over the years, but could never seem to capture its grandness and beauty. I came to this one place a few times over the course of a few days to see how the light changed on the main limestone area behind the river. I decided I wanted to photograph the river illuminated just when the sun hits it for a few minutes, and this is where I took Santa Elena Canyon, Big Bend National Park,Texas, 2020. I was drawn to the pink hue because it softened the harshness of the massive walls, and I was interested in how it reflected its shimmering light into the water, which becomes the entryway into the picture.
Every late afternoon on my last trip to Big Bend, I would hike up to this particular area above the Rio Grande, watch the sun slowly set behind me and then point my camera at the Sierra Del Carmen Mountains; it was one of the most humbling and memorable areas I have visited. The stillness of the air and the solitude high above the river was like a dream. This is where I took Sunset on the Sierra Del Carmen Mountains along the Rio Grande, Big Bend National Park, Texas, 2020. The orange hue is meant to capture this majesty and also the meditative head space I was in. — David Benjamin Sherry, April 12, 2020*
Gallery Platform L.A.
David Benjamin Sherry, Big Bend National Park, Morán Morán, July 2020, Gallery Platform L.A., from top: Eye into the Sky, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah, 2020, chromogenic print; Santa Elena Canyon, Big Bend National Park, Texas, 2020, chromogenic print; the artist at Bears Ears National Monument, Utah, 2018; Sunset on the Sierra Del Carmen Mountains along the Rio Grande, Big Bend National Park, Texas, 2020, chromogenic print; Looking towards Mexico from the Chisos Mountains, Big Bend National Park, Texas, 2020, chromogenic print. Images courtesy and © the artist and Morán Morán.