A landscape of work

Feb 012006
Authors: Danielle Yuthas

Edward Ranney's photography captures the awe not only of art admirers, but also of avid history enthusiasts.

From now through March 3, photographer Ranney will share with CSU his lifelong work of capturing the beauty of history through the art of photography.

Throughout the month, CSU's Hatton Gallery, located in the Visual Arts building, will be among a list of venues around the nation and the world to house Ranney's work. The list includes The Museum of Modern Art in New York and San Francisco, The Museum of Fine Arts in Santa Fe and Houston, The Victoria and Albert Museum in London, and The Art Institute of Chicago.

"It was a really beautiful exhibit to install," said Linny Frickman, director of the Hatton Gallery.

The exhibit showcases 63-year-old Ranney's work since he began as a landscape photographer in 1964 while studying in Peru on a Fulbright Fellowship. Throughout his career, he has published his work on Mayan and Incan ruins, and is currently working on the newest addition to his repertoire: archaeological sites in the Andean desert.

Ranney is invested in the photography of ancient ruins to create a sense of how different remains exist in their natural landscape and how they relate to their surroundings. The display allows viewers to compare the Mayan and Inca ruins.

"I produce a body of work that is interesting to me, and then I find an audience," Ranney said. "Not a lot of others photograph ancient ruins"

Not all of the sites he photographs are well known, but they are all important to the culture they represent, said Ranney. And because of their historical significance to specialists, he even seeks the "less photogenic and very austere sites, which are challenging to photograph well."

Ranney believes his work is his way to preserve what is left of the ruins since "many of the sites were looted by treasure seekers and the wear of time."

Believing in the detail and values it produces, Ranney still uses an old-fashioned large format camera that produces a 5" x 7" negative.

"It is beautiful and satisfying for landscapes and it renders space differently than other cameras," he said.

With the digital age, traditional photography is quickly becoming out-dated but to Ranney, digital photography does not provide the same effects. Digital photography is convenient for business but not always ideal for art.

Additionally, digital photos are not physical objects the way negatives are, making them less likely to survive time.

Ranney believes young students should learn both the traditional and the digital aspects of photography. Despite the economic struggle of traditional photography, he hopes that film will never become obsolete.


Danielle Yuthas can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com


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