“There''s no place like the Desert Southwest. It''s a land of parched canyons, bleached solitudes, and bulwarks of intoxicating rock. A land of sky islands, cinder cones, and mesas the size of battleships, crisscrossed by two great river drainages, the Colorado and the Rio Grande. It''s the country made famous by Edward Abbey, Wallace Stegner, and Georgia O''Keeffe, a queer world of upheaval and stark finality cooked in an unforgiving forge. The scale of it dwarfs human beings, not only spatially but also chronologically, suggesting chasms of time that mock our relevance in the story of creation.”
These dramatic rock formations, carved by the wind and shaped by water, and the vivid colors of the landscape are the subject of Jake Rajs''s portrait of the Southwest—encompassing the natural beauty of Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah. Featured are well-known and heavily visited national parks including Mesa Verde and Black Canyon in Colorado, Zion and Arches in Utah, the Vermilion Cliffs in Arizona, and Fort Union National Monument in New Mexico.
Rajs has studied the indigenous culture and architecture of this rich area, focusing on the ancient traditions and buildings of the Navajo, Hopi, and Anasazi and how they are integrated with the landscape. His portfolio of photographs of Bonito Pueblo in Chaco Canyon and of Canyon de Chelly capture the essence of antiquity that pervades these revered archeological sites.