Two Landscapes: England and Peru by Edward Ranney at Photo-eye Gallery
A fascinating exhibition at Photo-eye Gallery offers a contrast in blackand-white photographs made in northern England and southern Peru. In both series of straightforward landscape prints by Edward Ranney, the images demonstrate an incisive knack for locating — for seeing — unusual scenes, a trained eye for composition, and the technical ability to convey an intense level of detail. But the shots taken in the Andean coastal desert of southern Peru edge the others in enigma.
Ranney focused on the geoglyphs that were made by the Nazca people more than two millennia ago. The vast landforms have often been photographed from the sky, but the Santa Fe resident chose to encounter them on the ground, as they were “drawn.” So these are broad landscapes, quizzically altered for reasons — and by what means — we cannot know. The Peru pictures shown in this exhibit, created between 1985 and 2009, are selected from his photographic monograph, The Lines (Yale University Art Gallery, 2014).
The other half of Two Landscapes: England and Peru is composed of images Ranney made in 1980 and 1981. The Northern Arts Council of Great Britain presented him with a grant to photograph throughout Cumbria and to exhibit a selection of what he captured at a Carlisle, Cumbria, venue. The subjects — among them the monumental Roman artifact Hadrian’s Wall — definitely vary on the arid/lush spectrum from the Nazca work, but they share grandeur and mystery.
“The English work has never been seen in Santa Fe and represents a strong contrast with the Peruvian desert work — different cultural traditions, of course, as well as the natural landscape, both equally interesting and challenging to work in,” Ranney said. “I like how they reverberate with each other and speak of how cultures in different areas adjust to and live in different physical worlds. They each demand as well a specific, flexible way of seeing photographically.”
Ranney uses a 5 x 7 view camera, shooting film and making his own prints in the darkroom. He is the recipient of a Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship (1977) and Fulbright Fellowships (1964 and 1993), among other awards. When he chatted with Pasatiempo, Ranney was in Peru, where he co-curated an exhibition of works by the late Peruvian photographer Martín Chambi at Museo de Arte de Lima; that show opened on Oct. 20.
He is back in town to attend the opening reception and book signing at Photo-eye (541 S. Guadalupe St.; 505-988-5152), at 5 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 30. The exhibition continues through Dec. 5. — Paul Weideman
Edward Ranney: Palpa Valley (detail), 2004, toned gelatin-silver print