The Story Behind the Inspiration
I have been asked many times how I came to adopt the Southwestern Desert as my home and the inspiration behind my photography. My answer to this that I try to keep as simple as possible is, I was offered a coaching position at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV). However my intrigue with the desert began long before I ever stood on the sandy soil and marveled at the amazing beauty on a clear, warm night.
During my freshman year of college, a friend who was getting ready to graduate presented me with a special gift, the novella. "The Little Prince" by French writer, poet and pioneering aviator, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. The Little Prince is written as a children's book with self-illustrated watercolors about a pilot who becomes stranded in the Sahara Desert when his airplane crashes. While trying to repair his plane, the pilot meets up with a young prince that has just arrived to Earth from his home on a small asteroid. In essence, through vivid use of characters and symbolism, Saint-Exupéry explores the childhood innocence lying dormant in all of us and the sacred bond of friendship that extends beyond distance and time.
Some of my endearing exerts from The Little Prince:
"I have always loved the desert. One sits down on a desert sand dune, sees nothing, hears nothing. Yet through the silence something throbs, and gleams...".
"The house, the stars, the desert -- what gives them their beauty is something that is invisible!"
"If you love a flower that lives on a star, it is sweet to look at the sky at night. All the stars are a-bloom with flowers."
“What makes the desert beautiful,' said the little prince, 'is that somewhere it hides a well".
“All men have stars, but they are not the same things for different people. For some, who are travelers, the stars are guides. For others they are no more than little lights in the sky. For others, who are scholars, they are problems... But all these stars are silent. You-You alone will have stars as no one else has them... In one of the stars I shall be living. In one of them I shall be laughing. And so it will be as if all the stars will be laughing when you look at the sky at night..You, only you, will have stars that can laugh! And when your sorrow is comforted (time soothes all sorrows) you will be content that you have known me... You will always be my friend.You will want to laugh with me. And you will sometimes open your window, so, for that pleasure... It will be as if, in place of the stars, I had given you a great number of little bells that knew how to laugh”
From the time spent exploring the Mojave Desert, watching the sunsets or hearing the laughter of the stars on a warm, clear night, a bond formed and the desert became my home. I do not know when or how the aviation bug bit me or if it was sparked by Saint-Exupéry, however on a warm March morning in 1982 I passed my private pilot's proficiency test and began to marvel at the desert's beauty from the cockpit of a single engine airplane.
The small novella by Saint-Exupéry not only touched my emotions, but perhaps left a huge impression that has influenced my adult life. After all these years, I still hear the laughter of the stars and become sentimental when I see a single rose.
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No images on this blog are within Public Domain.
With my Nikon and tripod, my goal is to recreate the scene as it appears in nature, to preserve in a photographic image the awesome, yet simplistic beauty of the scene that waits around a bend or over a hill. Sometimes it's a colorful landscape, and many times I'm allowed in the presence of the numerous creatures that adapt to life in the wild.
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