If You’ve Seen One Mountain

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Sassolungo Langkofel, Dolomite Mountains, Italy

Sassolungo Langkofel, Dolomite Mountains, Italy

Pretty mountain pictures are a dime-a-dozen. Mountains are photogenic. Big deal. The cynic’s voice is clear: “I’ve seen them all.”

I have a particular affinity for mountain landscapes and the people who live in them. I am not a mountain climber, but I am duly impressed by their courage. I just like being in the mountains. I enjoy the strong weather, the raw landforms, the vegetation, and the traditions of self-reliance.  As I age I have become less enamored with cold and with physical labor, but I am still fascinated with mountains.

I put two mountain ranges high on my list of priorities on my recent photo excursion. They are both very different than any place I had ever been. That intrigued me. I worked very hard to depict their uniqueness, but in the face of such spectacles I felt inadequate.

I was gone for weeks and I am sure my family and friends wondered where in the heck I was and what I was looking at. Well, this photo is an example of what I was working on.

I am preparing an exhibit of these photos. It will be called: “If You’ve Seen One Mountain….” Photographs of mountain landscapes and their villages from The High Atlas Mountains of Morocco and the Dolomite Mountains of Italy.

The exhibit will be in Plaza Grill in Arcata, California beginning November 15, 2010.

“…mountain landscapes and their villages….”

Humans form a strong bond and a vital relationship to these mountain landscapes. The people, their traditions, and their villages are shaped by this relationship.

The exhibit will not just be pretty mountain photographs. I do hope the landscape photos will be  unique and interesting. But there will also be photos of the villages and buildings that people shaped from these mountains. Old, rustic, strong buildings. Beautiful villages. Simple lifestyles controlled by physical and financial struggles in harsh settings. Lifestyles that also create honest straightforward people who can be jovial and know how to celebrate the beauty of life lived in a beautiful place.

These villagers are people who are willing to welcome strangers as long as they enjoy and respect their place. I laughed with and made instant friends with people even though I did not understand Berber or Italian and they did not understand English. Life is good in these beautiful places even though it is also difficult. Why not smile and laugh? Why not plant flowers and artistically stack your firewood? Why not paint your shutters very red? Why not pause and look at the imposing skyline and enjoy the quiet? Why not walk slowly through your village and greet your neighbors?

I hope to show that attitude along with the striking scenery. The mountains, villages, and culture of Morocco and Italy are very different from one another. But the people have a great deal in common.

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