A Revelation in Vastness

dbf1a-728908Photographing big landscape raises the issue of how to effectively portray vastness. Whether seascape or landscape, great empty spaces limited mostly by the horizon, distant mountains, shoreline, clouds or sky, require dealing with a whole lot of empty space. I try to solve this by invoking color and light differentiation, texture, and pattern – no matter how subtle – to provide some perspective and reduce the portions of the colossal landscape into elemental blocks. During thirty years focusing on landscape, I have primarily explored how motion strokes can meld these elements to explore the depth of space.

A month ago, a friend sent me a link to the 100 best pictures from the Hubble Telescope’s 16-year journey. What first struck me about these images was the incredible vastness of outer space. The dimensions of the Sombrero Galaxy – 28 million light years from Earth, 50,000 light years across, and its 800 billion suns, are staggering. How do you get your mind around the eternity of the cosmos?

Looking at the Hubble photographs it dawned on me that vastness and the passage of time are inseparable; in fact, aren’t they one in the same? Mustn’t visual vastness include a significant passage of time?

I’ve spent countless hours staring down at the Colorado River coursing through a 1.7 billion year-old schist, as the light plays on foundation rock that is 1/3 of Earth’s 5.4 billion age, but it took the perspective of outer space to link the two elements fundamental to my life-long photographic exploration: time and space. The Grand Canyon, my muse, is the greatest representation of time and vastness I’ve found on Earth.


  1. Edward Carter

    When my galleries were active, I represented Gunnar – one of the world’s best living artists.

  2. Ellie Taylor

    Breathtakingly beautiful, Gunnar. Please keep sending us more of your wonderful photos. We miss you!! Your old house looks great; it was painted last fall with a fresh coat of white. They have added a patio lined with boxwoods and a path from there to the pool. Nice people with great tastes!!

  3. Dick lemon

    Your words themselves are beautiful, tying two different parts of my brain

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