Category Archives: Harry Snowden

TRAVELS by Harry Snowden

This year I published “Travels”. Travels follows my black and white film work from 1978 to the present. Images from as far north as Canada’s Yukon Territory to the desert Southwest of the United States. I used the best bookbinding and printing I could find and chose 78 images. I thought I would share with you some thoughts behind a few of my favorite images. Thank you to Aamora for the invite!

BeerCan National Park-Route 50-Nevada 1984 Yashica Mat 124G

Route 50 is also known as “The Loneliest Road in America” and crosses the basin and range province of Nevada.
What a beautiful sight. I quickly pull over to the side of the road, scramble up the road cut and into the sagebrush.
As I climb, a car passes, accelerating with honking and whoops from open windows. There I am standing in a photographer’s dream. Nice.
Weeks later, in the darkroom, I discover that the sagebrush is full of beer cans. I was crushed :). I was looking for more of a “Moon rise over Hernandez” effect.
But then came the title: Beer Can National Park; a title born of a photographer’s revenge.
This image was a lesson for me on the power of the title and it’s ability to steer narrative in the viewer.
Look closely, you can see Route 50 trailing off into the distance.

U-Save in fog -Oregon – 2014. Yashica Mat 124 G

I spent a very foggy winter chasing night images. Every once in a while a concerned citizen would see me out there in the dark and conclude I must be up to no good.
At first they would be aggressive, then I would subdue them by letting them peek through the viewfinder. Works every time.
I think I pursue this type of image in homage to George Tice’s – Petit’s Mobile Station 1974

Death Valley Junction, California 92328 – 1984 Yashica Mat 124G

I really did think I had walked onto a movie set. This place had it all- dust storms in the streets, creaking and rusting iron ornaments of all sorts and the population was zero. A roadrunner shadowed all my wanderings, peeking at me from around corners. I swear him in as sheriff before I leave town.

Hanging Tree- Virginia City, Nevada-1987 Yashica Mat 124

The town people in Virginia City don’t like it when you mess with their cemetery. Somebody did just before I arrived. Somebody with a taste for the macabre. Somebody with some extra rope in the trunk of their car.
The Hanging Tree is not large enough to hang anything, its a trick of the eye. The mind seems to care nothing about scale, it fills in the spaces with preconceived notions of this legendary western narrative.
I can’t set-up an image like this. I’m old fashioned. I believe all true photographs are found objects.

Bush Pilots -Swatcha Lake, Yukon Territory, Canada – 1978 Nikon Fe
Fishing in the rain – Carcross Yukon Territory, Canada 1980 Nikon Fe

The Yukon Territory is the only place I felt the true wilderness. After the Yukon, everything else feels like a park.
I dragged my Nikon all over the arctic. It took some real beatings and once it stopped working, at minus 58F. All my 35mm work from this time have a dreamy look. My romantic visions of life in the great white north.
The Nikon still works.

Eons – Arches National Park, Utah – 1996 Yashica Mat 124G

This place is dry and fossilized. Its silence harkens to the soul of an ancient time.
And if you’re a rattlesnake, it’s a great place to raise a family.
It’s hard to pull off a good image at high noon. Too stark and flat for my taste. I would usually wait for afternoon sun.
I think this image works because of the complex reflected light of rock and sand. Of course, matching a low contrast film to a high contrast subject also helps.

Travels by Harry Snowden. Linen hardcover with dust jacket. 78 images.