DEATH VALLEY series, 1997 and 2002


Badwater, Death Valley CA                                                         ©   Bruno Chalifour  1997

This series is the result of two fascinating trips I took to Death Valley, especially one in 1997 when I stayed for a whole week, night and day, in the valley. The series is composed of color and black and white photographs from 6x6 square format and 4"x5" (10 cm x 12,5 cm) negatives.

Most people who have been to some form of desert say it, so there is nothing new in my saying that there is something truly fascinating in the "silence" of the desert. You are with yourself with fewer distractions; contemplation is easier. Time seems to stand still...for a while. Then comes the light, the breeze, the clouds.

I started off for some kind of "Ansel Adams / Edward Weston" experience in black and white, trying to get deeper into the understanding of their photographs, especially Weston's. I was immediately stuuned by the variety and saturation of colors; something I did not expect. The first day I used all the few rolls and sheets of color film I had, and started to seriously deplete my friend (François)'s reserve. The next day we drove back to Las Vegas, bought all the film we needed and spent the following 6 days in the Valley photographing from before dawn to dark dusk. This series is a testimony in esthetic terms of a very captivating and introspective experience where metaphors, as mentioned earlier in R. Adams's text, play an important bonding role.