The Black Place - Two Seasons
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A large format photography book
by Walter W. Nelson
Essay by Douglas Preston
Introduction by Kate Ware

First published: February 15, 2014
Publisher: Museum of New Mexico Press
108 pp., 65 color illustrations, 11x12"

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“I must have seen the Black Place first driving past on a trip into the Navajo country and, having seen it, I had to go back to paint.... as you come to it over a hill, it looks like a mile of elephants—grey hills all about the same size with almost white sand at their feet.... Such a beautiful, untouched, lonely-feeling place....”
—Georgia O’Keeffe


The Museum of New Mexico Press announces the new book release of The Black Place Two Seasons, Photographs by Walter W. Nelson, Essay by Douglas Preston, Introduction by Katherine Ware.

Black Place Gallery
Walter W. Nelson photographing Georgia O'Keeffe's «Black Place» with his 8x10 Deardorff view camera.
Walter W. Nelson photographing Georgia O'Keeffe's «Black Place» with his 8x10 Deardorff view camera.

Few people have ventured into the remote, uninhabited badlands of the Navajo Reservation in northwest New Mexico named the Black Place by Georgia O’Keeffe. The artist spent some twenty years painting and drawing in the area, located some 100 miles from her Abiquiu home. Walter Nelson, who shares with O’Keeffe what writer Douglas Preston calls “a great affinity for geology,” went in search of The Black Place twenty years ago. He returned more than thirty times to this windswept landscape of black hills to photograph it year-round in large-format 8 x 10 black-and-white, and, for the past several years, digitally in color.

He camped there many times, often with the writer Douglas Preston, who wrote the text to this photography book. The Black Place, one of the harshest deserts in New Mexico, has an extraordinary and surprising history, which Preston recounts in his essay.

The mystery and infinitude of The Black Place is revealed in the series of photographs taken of the secluded southwest landscape that inspired one of the greatest outpourings of creativity in O’Keeffe’s artistic life.

Walter W. Nelson is an artist (painter and sculptor) and photographer based in Abiquiu, New Mexico. His photographs are in numerous public and private collections throughout the world.

Douglas Preston is the author of twenty-six books, both fiction and nonfiction. In 1989 Preston and Nelson retraced on horseback one thousand miles of Coronado’s route while searching for the legendary Seven Cities of Gold, resulting in the book Cities of Gold.

Katherine Ware is curator of photography at the New Mexico Museum of Art in Santa Fe.

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