The American Southwest is a culture that is fused with adventure, exploration, and tradition. Nestled in the high desert regions of Western Colorado is photographer James Blatter, an artist who looks at the riveting desert landscapes in a way that lets its natural beauty shine.
“The cliffs and plateaus of the west always offer the potential for drama,” says Blatter. “The remains of travelers are everywhere across the high desert. It is a harsh land with difficulties for all who pass… and sometimes the only thing left behind is bleached by the sun.”
Born and raised in the Southwest, he has always called the area home. For Blatter, it is the special moments of nature’s life that he works hard and waits so patiently to capture. Whether it is an impending storm over the arroyos that stand so prominently against the landscape or a unique perspective of a monocline, the passion that Blatter has for the American Southwest is evident in each image that he takes.
Mrs. Ingalls Ghost: The one room school house stands next to the church and saloon, the staples of how the community of the Southwest was forged. I love standing before these proud buildings that have stood the test of time, their lessons in etiquette and civility still echoing against the walls to engage the children of today’s generation..
As I stand there in the cold, my breath very visible as I find the right angle, the right light, the right amount of shadow, I have the words of lessons about Aristotle, Archimedes, and Newton coming to mind, proudly taught by the schoolmarm to all ages. The entire experience is particularly humbling.
Western Fence Line: This images makes me feel connected to my roots in the Southwest because it fuses the modern with the past, bringing me full circle. I can see a fence rider looking for holes in the fence, struggling against a brutally windy day with sand in his face, while keeping an eye out for a missing calf as he heads for the bunkhouse and the end of the ride. This is literally my soul, on display, right here.
Anything A Spider Can: There is a lot of fear in the Southwest in regards to spiders, but I connect with these creatures because they really are the glorious unsung heroes of our planet,. They are extraordinary in beauty ,with so many colors and designs on the cephalothorax and abdomen, that catching a vision of one is like seeing a living jewel spinning crystal.
Dark Garfield: Mt. Garfield is an iconic part of Western Colorado, standing tall as the gateway between the plains of the Grand Valley and the majesty and wonder of the Debeque Canyon. The dark clouds gathered above the vineyards that dot the landscape around Mt. Garfield and I just happened to be at the right place when it happened.
Moon Rise: The full moon is always compelling as it takes its turn to shine. The dust in the Southwest creates visually stunning moon rises as its gentle light shines against the horizon, especially on those rare opportunities when it rises just as the sun is setting. The moon is what connects us to our oldest ancestors, as it has always risen in such a stunning manner, and its true wonder is in how it eliminates the confines of space and time every time it arises from its slumber.
Frost: Beautiful patterns contrasting the majesty of the season… winter is a time that can be hard in the Southwest, but it can also be incredibly beautiful. It’s one of my most favorite times of year.
Bonanza Dreams: Out here on the Southwestern plateau, mythology can be found everywhere – even on a fence post calling to the ghosts of the Duke, Gary Cooper, and Randolph Scott.
Casual Skeletons: Despite their best efforts, not everyone or everything can survive the American Southwest. That doesn’t make their legacy any less important and I believe nothing should be forgotten.
In the end, what Blatter attempts to document in each photo is the connectivity that is found in the life that calls the American Southwest home. “The delicate art of Southwestern nature is always on display,” Blatter says. “It can be found in the delicate crystal structures of January, in the beautiful and bold patterns that appear in the changing of seasons, or just in the courage to stand up proudly against the difficult elements of nature to say ‘I will make it.”
“I will survive.’”
You can get to know James and more of his photography through his Tumblr site at http://noir-poetography.tumblr.com/