FIRST PLACE: William Nourse 'Alps Dawn'
L.A. Photo Curator: Global Photography Awards - 'Where Photography & Philanthropy Meet' FIRST PLACE: William Nourse 'Alps Dawn' (Click on image for larger view)
ALPS DAWN by William Nourse
(Click on image for larger view)

Curator Michael Kirchoff's review of winning image: "I wish I could simply say that I chose the top image because I just like it. You know, simple and direct, with no pretense or colorful language. The problem is that an image like this is so far removed from such simple descriptions that it would be a disservice to say such a thing.

This image perfectly describes what I wanted to find. True, that the term “dramatic landscape” is what we find here, but I have seen something far more interesting than the drama.

It’s the subtlety within that sets it apart from the rest of the pack. Sure there is a stunning use of light found here, and that is always something that I look for.

The environment itself is about as awe-inspiring as you can find in the world. So let’s check those two boxes off the list and see what’s left.

The color, the atmosphere, and the representation of human figures are all the subtleties that complete this image for me.

It represents not just our planet, nature, or our landscape, but it shows our place as living breathing entities able to appreciate these nuances on a grand scale. There is the balance of power that shows us how small we are in this world. This image shows me that I cannot ever take this world for granted, for my contributions to it will never measure up to what is seen here. An image that humbles me is one that I will not forget."

Kirchoff asks, "
Do you find that most of your favorite images come as a result of planning and waiting for images to present themselves, or are you more often responding to moments as they happen?"

Nourse says, "I definitely find that my favorite images are the result of spontaneous events, combinations of light and weather that make for a unique presentation.  When traveling, there's not often the time to wait for specific weather conditions - you make the best of what you can get, but that's what makes some of those images my favorites!"

Kirchoff asks, "Describe to us what you feel is the most important part of the aesthetic you are presenting with your photographs."

Nourse says, "I love the concept of the 'Sublime' - the feeling of wonder (and sometimes fear) provoked by being confronted by the power of the natural world.  Presenting that concept in my photographs is definitely my intent.  Sometimes, it might be by showing a sense of relative scale, while at others it might be by capturing dramatic motion and movement."

Kirchoff asks, "How would you interpret your place in the world as someone who is documenting the landscape? Is conservation and awareness a part of your thinking?"

Nourse says, "It's difficult not to be aware of the impact of humanity on nature today, whether traveling in a crowded National Park or through an empty landscape like the Gobi Desert, but I think I'm most aware when visiting areas with glaciers, such as Iceland or the Alps.

In the fifteen years since I first visited Chamonix, for example, the glaciers have shrunk dramatically, both in length and volume, which impacts not only the natural ecosystem, but also the ability for mountaineers and climbers to engage in their chosen activities. In Iceland, the human impact of tourism over the last decade has been substantial, requiring the creation of additional facilities to support all of those people, which in turn changes the character of the landscape"

Additional review by Curator Susan Spiritus:

"When I originally opened the email message from Laurie Freitag with her request to look at and comment on the winning image that Michael Kirchoff selected, I did so on my iPhone - as I’m sure most of us did or will do. I read Michael’s review, scrolled to see the photo and quickly realized that the screen size did not do this photo any justice! 

Indeed William Nourse’s photograph ‘Alp’s Dawn’ is majestic in nature, but it also has multiple layers which capture your gaze. As the early morning mist hovers over the mountains and the rising sun illuminates the people on the path, it clearly brings another quadrant into view. I love the tonal ranges that the photo offers and can only imagine it if it were offered as a platinum print! 

Congratulations William Nourse on a winning image."
Susan Spiritus
Susan Spiritus Gallery​

Additional review by curator Fran Forman:
Michael’s critique reflects my own views, although he says it so much better! 
But here goes:
The majesty of the mountain range, the subtlety of the almost monochromatic palette, the scale of the human figures trudging though the snow to an unknown, invisible location, the motion of the lighter tones encircling the darkened heights in the center...all these elements create a cohesive image that astounds, awes, humbles, and delightsme. Bravo!

Fran Forman

Will Nourse says, "The opportunity to spend time in wild places is increasingly precious in our modern society. Seeing fog form in Yosemite Valley, witnessing the power of a storm at the beach, meditating on a sunset in the Rocky Mountains or feeling insignificant beneath the brilliance of the Milky Way on a clear night are activities that fewer and fewer people in the world take the time to, and are able to, experience. 

While there are an ever-increasing number of photographers, there are far fewer landscape artists who express themselves through photography. As Galen Rowell wrote 'Well-executed photos of familiar scenes predictably fill up months of Sierra Club and Audubon calendar and put bread on the table of the chosen photographer, but the question a dedicated nature photographer should be asking is, “Do I want to be a content provider or a visual artist?” Rowell, and contemporary landscape photographers such as Alister Benn, Ryan Dyar and Rafael Rojas have all strongly influenced how I think about the artistic process of creating images, both in the field and in the digital darkroom.

Traveling to the wild and returning with images that capture the essence of a place and the emotion that it evokes is what I do as a visual artist.  This may be a grand landscape in the mountains, a storm-wracked shore or a peaceful sunset over a lake, but in each image distilling that essence and communicating it to the viewer is my objective.  I am often drawn, as well, to strong, graphic elements in natural images, capturing line, color or texture in natural scenes – this may be in the fractal nature of mountain shapes, newly formed ice on a puddle or contrasting light and shadow on a dune.

The French Alps have been inspirational for artists, hikers and climbers for centuries and returning there this summer after an absence of 15 years rekindled the same sense of wonder and awe that I felt when I first visited.  The bulk of the massif contrasts with the delicate points of the Aiguilles (needles in French), and the gauze of clouds can wrap them thickly or part momentarily to expose the rock and snow.  Capturing those moments of exposure and drama took patience, but was well rewarded. 

Part of the challenge and reward of photography is capturing that ephemeral moment and sharing the experience with the viewer.  In landscape and nature photography, that might be first light on a mountainside, the patterns of foam on water or the layering of clouds over a landscape, but the intent is the same as that of a portrait or even a travel snapshot: ‘this is what I saw and how I felt – experience it with me.’

Will Nourse is a landscape photographer known for his dramatic landscape images expressing the power and beauty of our natural world.

He has been an avid photographer for almost twenty years, and his work reflects a lifetime of hiking, backpacking, climbing, skiing and sailing, all of which have given him a deep appreciation for the wonders of nature. 

He has been featured at the Paula Estey Gallery in Newburyport, MA and the Davis Orton Gallery in Hudson, NY and a series of images were featured in the first print edition of All About Photo Magazine in June, 2018

He has exhibited in juried shows at the Cambridge Art Association, the Newburyport Art Association (NAA), the Rockport Art Association, 1650 Gallery in Los Angeles, CA and various online galleries.  Recently, he exhibited in the Cambridge Art Association’s National Prize Show (2017), his image ‘Seljalandsfoss #2’ was selected as Best in Show for Photography in the NAA’s 20th Annual Regional Juried Show (2017) and his photo ‘Vestrahorn #1’ won the Newburyport Development Award for Work in Photography in the NAA’s 2016 Fall Member’s Juried Show Part II.

He currently resides in Amesbury, MA with his wife, daughter, two Wheaten Terriers and two cats.
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