Postcards from California

Waves along Big Sur Coast
Waves along Big Sur Coast

The Big Sur coast is a magical place to be sure. It is a powerful meeting of land, sea, and sky. One could argue that modern landscape photography, as we know it, was born along this twenty mile stretch of California coast. Here Edward Weston,Wynn Bullock,Ansel Adams,Morley Baer and so many other photographers made their homes, found their muse and created some of the best known and most loved photographs of the twentieth century.

Crashing waves at Pfeiffer Beach, Big Sur Coast, California
Crashing waves at Pfeiffer Beach, Big Sur Coast, California
Point Pinos Lighthouse, Sunset, Pacific Grove, California
Point Pinos Lighthouse, Sunset, Pacific Grove, California

I journeyed to that magical place recently to share its beauty with ten photographers who joined me for an Eloquent Light Photography workshop. We were up and out everyday making photographs that captured the wonders best described by author and Big Sur resident Henry Miller who wrote, “Big Sur is the California that men dreamed of years ago, this is the Pacific that Balboa looked at . . . this is the face of the earth as the Creator intended it to look.” From waves crashing on Pfeiffer Beach to the most incredible sunset illuminating the century old light house at Point Pinos and so much more, our workshop days were intense and rich and our memory cards were made full with powerful images. Visits and print viewings with Barbara Bullock-Wilson, daughter of photographer Wynn Bullock, and Kim Weston, son of photographer Cole Weston and grandson of Edward Weston, rounded out a perfect week.

Crab with Kelp, Point Lobos, Carmel California, 2015 Photograph by ©Craig Varjabedian
Crab with Kelp, Point Lobos, Carmel California, 2015 Photograph by ©Craig Varjabedian

The workshop focused for me the necessity of beauty in my life. With so many disturbing things being reported in the news each day, I need to know that beautiful places like the coast of California (and New Mexico too where I live) exist in the world as a kind of safe harbor—if only briefly—from all of the cruelty and stupidity in the world. Beautiful places inspire the muse for the photographs I make and they nourish me deeply. I believe it is possible that beauty might just save the world.

Cypress Tree at Point Lobos, nr. Carmel, California
Cypress Tree at Point Lobos, nr. Carmel, California

These images are just a taste of what I photographed over a period of ten days in that Garden of Eden. If you have a thought or two about them, please leave a note in the comments section below. I’d love to hear from you.