SEEKING SILENCE ~ Zion National Park.
Every photograph I shoot begins with a clear vision. Of course, there are a myriad of factors affecting the process along the way, most notably the weather and its constant effect on the light. For this image made in Zion National Park of the Watchman, I envisioned combining one photograph made during the golden hour and a second captured long after sunset. For those who haven’t tried astrophotography, it’s truly amazing and worth the required extra effort. Using a long exposure, the camera can capture complex light and shadow with extraordinary colors and dynamic range, that the human eye is simply unable to see in real time. As the sun moved closer to the horizon, I made my first exposure of the river valley and the Watchman. To be sure, it’s a magical view. I then waited for several more hours as darkness fell upon the valley. Finally, the time had come to make a photograph of the Milky Way. By merging the two photographs into one, I had created the precise mood I had in my mind’s-eye. Combining the astonishing colors and light in the heavens with those here on earth left me awe-struck.
ARTIST STATEMENT: As though by a magnet, I’ve always felt the world pulling me, luring me to explore its mysteries and wonder. For a long time, I put my dreams on hold. Then one day in my practice as a radiologist, I met a patient whose journey would forever change my outlook.
In the Fall of 2006, a man came to me with a nagging discomfort in his chest. At 38 years old, he was so young that I thought surely it must be something benign or otherwise inconsequential. In a matter of a few short hours, his CT scan revealed that he was suffering from terminal lung cancer. His story is a reminder to us all that each day must be viewed as a very special gift.
I’ve witnessed hundreds of patients whose lives have been abruptly changed by a life-altering or life-ending diagnosis. At times we may convince ourselves that we are immortal, and that cancer or some other catastrophe only affects others, but we have no guarantees in this life. Time is too short to get lost in a blur of days, weeks, and months.
And so, I began to think more seriously about all those overseas adventures waiting for me, and soon enough, I grabbed my camera and voyaged to all 7 continents. I’ve observed Tibetan monks in prayer, hiked up the Virunga mountains of Rwanda to marvel at the Silverback gorillas in their natural habitat, and watched Bengal tigers cool off in a shallow lake to escape India’s searing heat.
I’ve met people, young and old, who have lived amazing yet ordinary lives. Along the way, I’ve spent several decades honing my craft as a portrait photographer. Whether I’m making candid images of women immersed in prayer in Abu Dhabi or portraits of television actors in my Venice Beach studio, I’ve continuously sought to capture life’s fragility and beauty.
There are no rewinds in life, so find the time to discover your inspiration, explore the extraordinary, create the unimaginable, and then leave nothing on the table.
~ Harv Greenberg, M.D.