Professor of Art Andy Howard traveled across four states, 5,000 miles of road and roughly 200 miles of trails to capture the photographs featured in his new exhibit, “The Soul of the Southwest.”
The images are on display at at Cotuit Center for the Arts in Cotuit, Mass. now through March 19.
Howard’s black and white photographs reveal the unique natural wonders of the American Southwest and express the photographer’s personal connection to the region.
“This body of work was inspired by my lifelong artistic sense that the natural landscape can mirror so much of the human experience—human characteristics such as grace, durability, equilibrium, longevity and fragility,” Howard said. “There is a resonance with the forms in my photographs that I try very hard to make visual with my personal human experience.”
Along with capturing the spirit and beauty of the southwest, Howard’s photographs help draw attention to the importance of conservation.
“I also have made images of these incredible natural forms and spaces that took over 350 million years to evolve in order to show how important they are and that they should be protected,” he said.
Howard took the photographs during trips made with his wife Sharon between 2011 and 2014, in Arizona, California, Utah and New Mexico. According to his artist’s statement, a considerable amount of research went into the project as Howard decided which geologic sites to photograph.
“In my artistic statement, I stated that the intent of my work was to reveal how these places ‘felt’ to me rather than what they simply ‘looked like,’” he said. “The tonal values, the fact that I chose to make black and white images of these very colorful places, are all decisions that lead to providing a deeper sense of my relationship to the landscape.”