Timeless Moments: Grand Canyon National Park by David Muench
– When Farcountry press reached out to me to see if I was interested in reviewing a copy of David Muench’s new book: Timeless Moments: Grand Canyon National Park, I instantly responded with an enthusiastic “you bet I would.” A little over a week later I received a package1 and I dove right in.
I knew it would be about the Grand Canyon, but I chose to do as little research into David’s work or the famous National Park before I received the book. Instead I opted to experience it “fresh” in the same way as someone who might pick up the book at their local book store. In other words, I wanted to see if I could be surprised by what was inside instead of building up any expectations.
Before I start my review of David’s book I want to point out the superb work of Farcountry Press in successfully recreating the many images throughout the book. If there’s one thing that always worries a photographer, it’s the quality of their images when they entrust someone to print their work. I was happy to see that the team at Farcountry took this book as seriously as the subject deserved with suburb color reproduction throughout. It’s truly a joy to see these beautiful pictures together in this book.
At 96 pages it’s not an overwhelming book in any way. In fact, it’s size encourages people to pick it up and look through it in a way a gigantic book can’t. With under 100 pages each image feels especially important because we know David has a considerable number of pictures of the Grand Canyon to choose from (including some “hidden gems” seen for the first time in this book).
After a super quick run-through of the book I went back and took a much closer look.
As I made my way through the pages of David’s book, I found myself thinking about a quote from Ken Burns’ documentary, “Baseball: The Tenth Inning”:
“More than anything else what adheres me to baseball, and always has, is the sense that I am essentially watching the same game that somebody saw in 1860…” – Keith Olbermann 2
I’ve always thought this was a powerful idea and, as I looked at David’s gorgeous pictures, I couldn’t help but think about how multi-generational a place like Grand Canyon National Park truly is. If I went to the Grand Canyon, camera in hand, there’s a good chance the geology before me would look the same as it did to David on his first visit.
Sure, there may be differences, but the Grand Canyon of today is essentially the Grand Canyon seen by Lieutenant Joseph Ives when his Army survey party explored the region in the mid 1800’s. It’s easy to be drawn in to the pictures only by their beauty. But if you stop and think about the content, and just how many people have seen the places captured in his pictures, you begin to realize the brilliance of the title: Timeless Moments.
Before I get further into the book itself, it’s probably a good idea to know a little about the man whose pictures fill its pages.
David Muench was born to a father who was a photographer and a mother who was a writer. He made his first photographs as a teenager in the late 1950s and his photographs were published as front and back covers of Arizona Highways while he was still in high school. He received his education in photography and in art at Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, NY, and the Los Angeles Art Center School of Design, but he credits his time in the field with providing his most profound learning experiences.
“Even now, as the technology of photography explodes in directions undreamed of in my early days, and as I continue to learn, to expand in new directions, it is nature that remains my teacher” – David Muench 3
With a career spanning seven decades, across two centuries, his work has been published in over 60 exhibit format books, numerous magazines, posters, and calendars, and exhibited in galleries, national park visitor centers and private collections.
Grand Canyon National Park
With David’s newest book, the first of a new series, he brings us directly into the Grand Canyon National Park. It’s easy to dismiss the images as easy to create because the subject is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. But his images are more than a beautiful subject captured expertly, they represent the kind of stubborn perseverance necessary to capture every possibility. And, even more importantly, to do it over several decades to see even the smallest of changes over time.
Sure, the Grand Canyon looks great in the middle of the day in June. But it looks completely different on an April morning and different, again, as the sun is setting in October. Unless you dedicate yourself to returning to a place numerous times, you’ll never understand it’s true personality. One look at the pictures in Timeless Moments and it’s apparent David became a true student of the many locations of the Grand Canyon he photographed. I can only imagine how many early mornings and late nights he made the long hike to a specific location to capture any one of his images. The wide range of shots (different times of day, different seasons, different point of view, etc.) are all proof of his repeated returns.
As a landscape photographer, myself, I know how difficult it is to be in the right place at the right time without knowing what I may see when I arrive. Because of my own experiences, I can really appreciate what went in to each and every image in this book. The time dedicated to his art is obvious and we, as readers of his book, are allowed to enjoy the end results of his hard work. More important, we can do this without ever leaving the comfort of the couch that sits behind the coffee table where a book like this belongs.
This is the point in my review that I admit to never actually going to the Grand Canyon. The many National Parks of our country, especially the Grand Canyon, have always been places I want to see. Unfortunately, visiting the Grand Canyon hasn’t been as convenient as exploring the National Parks right in my back yard. While I enjoyed David’s book, I’m anything but an expert on the the locations David shares here.
And yet, I’ve always said:
“Great landscape and travel photography should be more than just a picture of a breathtaking subject. It should touch the viewer in a unique way that makes them want to go see that place in the picture. (Travel and Landscape Photography) should inspire us to make the journey to that picturesque place and experience it in a way that can only happen when you’re really there.” 4
And with my own words in mind I happily give Timeless Moments: Grand Canyon National Park an easy recommendation because every page had me planning my own trip to see these places myself, and there’s no higher compliment I can pay to a fellow photographer.
Get Your Own Copy of Timeless Moments: Grand Canyon National Park
Timeless Moments: Grand Canyon National Park by David Muench, is available now and can be purchased wherever books are sold.
The easiest way to get your copy delivered right to your front door is from Amazon.com by clicking here.
1 – The book “Timeless Moments: Grand Canyon National Park” by David Muench was provided free of charge by Farcountry press for review and I received no other compensation to write this review. The opinions I express in this review are mine alone and were not swayed by my not paying for the review copy. In fact, I plan to go out to buy a personal copy (to keep separate from the review copy) to be signed should I ever meet the author in person.
2 – Keith Olbermann’s quote is from: “Baseball: the Tenth Inning” by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick – originally aired in November, 2010 on PBS stations across the USA. Learn more here.
3 – The David Muench quote was found on David’s photography website on the “Biography Page”. If you would like to read the entire biography it can be found here. To find out more about David’s workshops please visit the Muench Workshops website here.
4 – This is a statement I use in presentations and private lessons I give on travel and landscape photography. To learn more about my presentations or classes on travel and landscape photography, please send an email to: Monico Havier by clicking here.
5 – The picture of David Muench was provided by Farcountry Press (in their digital press kit).
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