Photographer Andy Katz visited every national park in the country, and he’s got the shots to prove it
Roughly 24 hours after he decided his pandemic-era project would be a sprawling photo book dedicated to all 63 national parks and dubbed A Walk in the Park, legendary shooter Andy Katz flew to Colorado to pick up a rental camper and hit the road. What followed was three solid years of photographic fortitude across more than 60,000 miles; thousands of shots; plenty of solitude and a new appreciation for domestic beauty. The results? A compilation-style book designed by Katz’s longtime pal John Kosh (the man behind iconic album covers like Abbey Road, among so many others) and a new exhibition at Canyon Road’s Edition One Gallery featuring limited edition prints of numerous shots from the project. Ironically, Katz had originally intended to stay home and craft a retrospective book culled from his 13 other published tomes. That didn’t last long.
“After 50 years of photography, I figured I’d better do it,” he tells SFR. “Day one was cool, day two was good, day three I was like, ‘Jeeze, I’ve gotta get out and take some pictures!” And I’d always wanted to do a book of national parks, but I’d traveled a lot more internationally than in the country.”
Now 70, Katz says his girlfriend joined him for some legs of the trip, but that he also had lots of opportunities to explore solo. And rather than making a list of big ticket sites like Yosemite’s Half Dome or Yellowstone’s Old Faithful, Katz’s only self-assigned mandate was to shoot whatever struck him as beautiful; both as a means of highlighting lesser-known aspects of the parks, but also as a sort of Zen bit of self-reflection manifested by giving way to curiosity.
“From the very beginning I decided it was not going to be a guidebook,” he explains. “The whole idea was that I was going to photograph anything I found to be gorgeous, and it wouldn’t have anything to do with the most famous parts, it was just what I found to be stunning.”
Thus, a hazy shot of sunlight poking through the trees, a golden sliver of sun peeking out from behind the rain clouds above jutting dunes or a sandpiper flitting about beneath a mangrove become less about checking off a box or succumbing to personal experience or desire—they stand as micro-testaments to American beauty. We can forget, Katz says, to enjoy the elements of our own backyards, and the shared history of the parks system is one thing all Americans have in common.
“Look, I’ve been to over 100 countries, and I’ve realized the United States are as beautiful as any place on Earth. I really found an appreciation for this country,” he says. “If somebody goes to Yosemite, to Redwood, they cannot leave without saying [they’re some of] the most gorgeous places. It makes you proud to live in a country that has so much incredible beauty.”
Andy Katz: A Walk in the Park Opening and Signing: 5-7 pm Friday, Nov. 10. Free. Edition One Gallery, 729 Canyon Road, 982-9668
We understand your time is very valuable and that there are many events vying for your attention, but sometimes we’ve just gotta tell everyone there’s a big ol’ night of old-school musical singing action, and they’ll probably feel better if they just rock with that while they can. We speak of Tri-M Productions’ forthcoming A Grand Night For Singing, which places a bevy of local vocalists on stage to sing something like three-dozen classic Rodgers and Hammerstein jams from shows such as Carousel, The King and I, South Pacific and the freaking Sound of Music. For one weekend only you can wash those jamz right into your hair (that’s a South Pacific joke, and you’d know that if you loved musicals as much as you should) with the likes of Isabel Madley, Caiti Lord and others under the direction of Tri-M founder Marilyn Barnes and musical direction from Kathlene Ritch. This show/revue won two Tonys at some point, too, so...word? Word. You could dance all night (King and I joke!) at this one, nerds, and that is just one of our favorite things (even more jokes!).
Tri-M Presents: A Grand Night for Singing: 7 pm Thursday, Nov. 9 to Saturday, Nov. 11 and 2 pm Sunday, Nov. 12. $20-$50. St. Francis Auditorium, 107 W Palace Ave., trimsantafe.org
Best in the West
The Southside of Santa Fe has a rich tradition of DIY art spaces and venues. Some have gone, like Radical Abacus, The Dave Cave and Zephyr; others, like Ghost, Alas de Agua Art Collective and the new-ish Best Western live on. Artists Shane Tolbert and James Sterling Pitt founded the latter earlier this year by and have adopted an almost anti-Canyon Road aesthetic in resistance to the idea that art and commerce need be forever linked. “I don’t want to deal with tourist crowd,” Tolbert tells SFR of the decision to drop knowledge down on Airport Road. “The audience I want are people who are actively choosing to hop on a bike or get in a car and go to the destination—not just popping their heads in out of curiosity.” This weekend, Best Western hosts its newest show Glyphs, a series by Brooklyn-based painter Jeremy DePrez whereby the artist makes use of everyday ephemera to create connections between artistry, existentialism and the things we leave behind. “It’s his first time showing in New Mexico,” Tolbert adds. “I feel fortunate to bring his work here. (ADV)
Jeremy DePrez: Glyphs: 3-5 pm Saturday, Nov. 11. Best Western, 4328 B Airport Road, westernbest.org
One ought not be surprised at this point in Santa Fe history that the Cowgirl will host singer-songwriters, Americana purveyors and country aficionados. Los Angeles-based songwriter James Houlahan falls under those qualifiers, sure, but exists in a place well beyond the guy-and-a-guitar milieu. Houlahan’s lush compositions find layers of instrumental joy—think guitars, fiddles, drums, harmonies and more—building a foundation around a vulnerable vocal style and falsetto moments that sell the drama without making it seem dramatic. “What did I do to deserve such beauty?” he sings on “What Is Our Love,” perhaps in an attempt to quantify how some guys have all the luck. It only gets more vulnerable from there, but it’s universal, too. Houlahan knows how you feel, and he can prove it. And besides—when was the last time you rocked one of those Cowgirl strawberry margaritas?
James Houlahan: 4 pm-6 pm Tuesday, Nov. 14. Free. Cowgirl, 319 S Guadalupe St., (505) 982-2565