121 photos of exceptional geology, large and small scale, richly captioned, dedicated to the Water Protectors of Standing Rock, North Dakota
2019 Nautilus GOLD Award for Art and Photography
“Earthforms: Intimate Portraits of Our Planet is an outstanding and beautiful compendium of landscape photography that borders on fine art.”
—Midwest Book Review
Intimate Portraits of Our Planet
Earthforms: Intimate Portraits of Our Planet collects award-winning fine art photographer Joel Simpson’s best worldwide geological photography from the past 15 years. It presents magnificent and often unconventional landscapes but embraces much more: strangely fascinating geo subjects, such as rare cave formations, Irish littoral reefs, mudstone interbedding, and the honeycomb-like patterns in sandstone or granite that form near salt water called tafoni. The “intimate portraits” of the sub-title especially refer to his small-field captures of mineral configurations such as dried desert mud formations, which he calls “miniscapes.” These images reveal an exquisite sensitivity to form and fine detail, pushing the boundaries of landscape art. Locations range from California and the Colorado Plateau to Newfoundland, Ireland, Turkey, Jordan, Madagascar, Mongolia, Vietnam, and more. Texts include a 3000-word essay by star human rights lawyer Daniel Sheehan telling the complete story of the Water Protectors’ opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline, as well as an inspiring poem by Water Protectors leader, Lakota attorney Chase Iron Eyes. Twelve pages of captions in the back present geological field notes as well as cultural/historical commentary. The front end pages offer a geological time scale with page references to the images in the book.
You’ve never seen a landscape book quite like this
What the critics say…
—LYLE REXER, author; critic, curator; columnist for PHOTOGRAPH magazine.
—MIDWEST BOOK REVIEW
—Rachel Dehning for READER VIEWS (online).
More than Landscapes…
Why “geological” photography? Aren’t the photos of rocks in geology books mostly pretty boring?
I’m glad you asked! This is not a geology text. I intended it as an art book primarily to give pleasure, to surprise you and delight you, and secondarily to show you the crust of the Earth up close, while supporting the valiant Water Protectors of Standing Rock, who represent all of us who are deeply concerned to protect our dangerously stressed-out planet.
The geological focus of EARTHFORMS means that it includes and then looks beyond standard images of breathtaking landscapes, like inspiring mountain views, reflecting lakes, waterfalls, seascapes, canyons and forests. Its geological photography also includes caves with rare needle-like “frostwork”; tufa towers at dawn, noon, and after sundown; sensuous closeups of columnar basalt , fields of littoral granite, misty travertine limestone, bizarre bubbling mudpots caught at 1/3000th second, slot canyons at night, and stately, towering volcanic plugs. If you immerse yourself in these images, you risk becoming more attuned to form in the world around you, things you might have once passed over, like the “faces” in rock walls, the “angry” dried mud of desert playas, the “nipples” and “open wounds” of lava, the “smiles” of cross-bedded sandstone, and the stone latticework of seaside tafoni—that you can also find in deserts once covered by seas.
I have high standards of beauty, but not necessarily of the “pretty” kind. Rather I look for the kind that Surrealism’s founder André Breton called “convulsive,” that is, beauty that can change the way you see things and maybe change your life.
So come, have a look at the samples…
About Joel Simpson
We hope that EARTHFORMS inspires as well as delights you. If you want to expand your vision even more when photographing nature and landscapes, check out the eBook I wrote to accompany EARTHFORMS.
It’s called PUTTING THE “WOW” INTO YOUR LANDSCAPES. This book will teach you how to see in new, creative ways, how to find locations to exercise your vision, how to capture astonishing images in unusual places, and finally, how to process your captured images to render your vision in even more effective form.
The second part of the eBook reviews every art photograph in EARTHFORMS and analyses why they work as a photographic compositions. You’ll come away from studying the eBook inspired, newly sensitized, and in possession of sharpened skills to create new images far more powerful and original than you ever have before.