Best Photographs of 2018

January 5th, 2019 by David Leland Hyde Leave a reply »

The Work of Pioneer Conservation Photographer Philip Hyde Continues Through His Son, David Leland Hyde and His Favorite Images for 2018

Some Americans may not recognize my father, Philip Hyde’s name, but most have seen his iconic landscapes from the 1940s through the 1990s, which helped make many of our national parks, appeared in a solo show at the Smithsonian and with Ansel Adams, Eliot Porter, Martin Litton, David Brower, and others through Sierra Club Books, popularized the coffee table photography book and played a central role in the birth of the Modern Environmental Movement.

This year I was fortunate to hang my own conservation photographs in my first museum show at the Plumas County Museum in Quincy, California, which Dad co-founded in the late 1960s. The exhibition was called, “Agriculture West and Midwest: Visual Stories of a Fading Traditional Way of Life From 17 States With Special Emphasis on Plumas and Sierra Counties.” Below, please find some of the images from the show, as well as other photographs made this year. I have selected my favorite 18 photographs of the year in accord with the 12th Annual Blog Project by Jim M. Goldstein.

In addition to landscapes, my conservation photography focuses on agriculture for a number of reasons:

  1. People like images of old barns, farms and ranches
  2. Agriculture is a hot and controversial subject currently because industrial agriculture is putting simpler methods and smaller farms out of business across the country, leaving American rural areas and small-towns destitute and abandoned.
  3. Industrial agriculture is also controversial because it is the primary producer of climate change triggering greenhouse gases worldwide, while small, sustainable agriculture is the most effective way to regenerate soil and reverse the damage done to public health and ecosystems by industrial agriculture.
  4. One industrial agriculture myth is that it is the only way to feed the world, whereas small, sustainable agriculture already successfully feeds over 70 percent of the world, while industrial methods only feed 30 percent.
  5. Besides striving to bring to light the differences between industrial agriculture and smaller, more sustainable ways, I also have been photographing our disappearing agricultural history.
  6. The highest purpose of an artist is to be a bellwether of the times.
  7. The art of agriculture has a rich tradition going back to the Dustbowl and Great Depression and including Ansel Adams, Dorothea Lange, Philip Hyde, Edward Weston, Minor White, Imogen Cunningham, Morley Baer, Claude Monet, Georgia O’Keeffe, Grant Wood, George Stubbs, Peter Paul Rubens, Claude Lorrain, Andrea Sacchi, Théodore Rousseau, Hendrik Meyer and many other luminaries.

While my landscapes have also been used in land conservation campaigns and on behalf of various environmental causes, my primary focus currently is on artfully depicting cultural restoration, declining historical resources, as well as sustainable farming and ranching. At the same time, early in 2018, I decided to cut back on making images and focus much more on getting my work out to the world. Therefore, the photographs you see below come from a much more limited selection of frames made during the year overall, compared to previous years.  I am building out my website and adding more images all the time: HydeFineArt.com

Barn on North Valley Road, Indian Valley, Northern Sierra, California by David Leland Hyde. From “Agriculture West and Midwest” Museum Show. (Click twice to see large.)

Old Barns, Grizzly Peak, Genesee, Genesee Valley Ranch, Winter, Northern Sierra, California by David Leland Hyde. From “Agriculture West and Midwest” Museum Show. (Click twice to see large.)

Horses Standing in Snow, Old Mormon Barn, Saddlehorn Ranch, Winter, Northern Sierra, California by David Leland Hyde. From “Agriculture West and Midwest” Museum Show. (Click twice to see large.)

Wagyu Cattle Near and Far, Genesee Road, Palmaz Hangar, Genesee Valley Ranch, Winter, Northern Sierra, California by David Leland Hyde. From “Agriculture West and Midwest” Museum Show. (Click twice to see large.)

Horse Barn Detail, Genesee, Genesee Valley Ranch, California by David Leland Hyde.

Stumps, Forest and Reflections, Shore of Snag Lake, Fall, Lakes Basin Recreation Area, California by David Leland Hyde. (Click twice to see large.)

Looking Down Indian Creek at Mt. Hough, Winter, Genesee Valley Ranch, California by David Leland Hyde. (Click twice to see large.)

Indian Creek, Wheeler Peak, Early Winter, Genesee Valley Ranch, California by David Leland Hyde. (Click twice to see large.)

Leaning Tree Detail, Upper Sardine Lake, Lakes Basin Recreation Area, California by David Leland Hyde. (Click twice to see large.)

Sunset, Maddalena Barn, Sierraville, Sierra Valley, California by David Leland Hyde. (Click twice to see large.)

Broken Gate Shadows, Willow, North Barn, Lemmon Canyon Ranch near Sierraville, Sierra Valley, California by David Leland Hyde. From “Agriculture West and Midwest” Museum Show. (Click twice to see large.)

Snowmelt Lake, Cows and Large Western Barn in Shade, Thompson Valley near Quincy, California by David Leland Hyde. From “Agriculture West and Midwest” Museum Show. (Click twice to see large.)

North Wall, Renovated Genesee Store, Night, Genesee, Genesee Valley Ranch, California by David Leland Hyde. (Click twice to see large.)

Ranch Manager Connecting With Wagyu Cows, Winter, Genesee Valley Ranch, Northern Sierra, California by David Leland Hyde. Color Version From “Agriculture West and Midwest” Museum Show. (Click twice to see large.)

Roping and Branding, Openshaw Ranch, Mt. Hough, Indian Valley near Taylorsville, Plumas County, California by David Leland Hyde. From “Agriculture West and Midwest” Museum Show. (Click twice to see large.)

Fence Posts and Collapsed Filippini Barn, Sierra Valley, California by David Leland Hyde. (Click twice to see large.)

Rider and Horse, Galloping West, Long Valley Ranch Near Cromberg, California by David Leland Hyde. (Click twice to see large.)

Wagyu Cattle, Genesee Road, Grizzly Ridge, Genesee Valley Ranch, Winter, Sierra Nevada, California by David Leland Hyde. Color Version From “Agriculture West and Midwest” Museum Show. (Click twice to see large.)

Blog Project Posts From Years Past:

Best Photographs of 2017

Favorite Photographs of 2016

My Favorite Photographs of 2015

Best Photographs of 2014

Best Photographs of 2013

My 12 “Greatest Hits” of 2012

Best Photos of 2011

My Favorite Photos of 2010

 

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18 comments

  1. Juri says:

    David,

    Congrats on your show at the Plumas Museum!
    Looks like you are spending more time in Greenville than Boulder. Hope all is well with you.

    I had a mountain biking accident last summer,and finally had surgery in Chico right after the CAMP Fire, My former home above Paradise in Magalia was still standing.

    Ironically,my wife and I went up there to go hiking two weeks before the fire.. Across the street from my former house was a BLM right of way onto their land. The CCC had done some tree thinning and the neighborhood of Paradise Pines was mostly intact. I have gone up their to do some photography, “RESILIENCE – Still Standing.”

    I have been concentrateing on my e-Book writing for Amazon, having just published my third book. This coming year I will be working on my first novel, which should be published in paperback format. I have another one scheduled for 2020, on my experiences in China over the last 15 years. (five trips back there).

    Keep up the great photgraphy of the vanishing rural West,

    Best Wishes,

    Juri George Brilts

  2. Hi Juri, Glad to hear your place in Paradise survived the Camp Fire. Fire abatement and preparation does make a difference. Developers will build homes and communities in any area they can get away with. Buyer Beware… of what is surrounding them and what the natural disaster threats are in any given area where we live. Not to mention that the Camp Fire was not CAUSED by Climate Change, but by PG&E negligence. Yet another threat that we citizens need to stay vigilant about at all times to avoid becoming victims of uncaring, mismanaged and irresponsible companies and governments. The authorities are not out to protect us anymore, but are aligned with corporate interests instead. I have read the books that recommend dumping the old model of authorship and publishing and just churning out eBooks. However, even though I am not one to talk as I have placed my productivity elsewhere other than writing in the last few years, I still believe I would rather make less money and produce a higher quality product than eBooks usually represent. I am sure eBooks can be good though, depending, and you are to be congratulated anyway for publishing something that is getting out to the world in the form you have chosen. Thank you for continuing to read Landscape Photography Blogger. The rate of posts will sooner or later go back up here as well. No worries. It is NOT a fading project, not yet and not permanently ever, just one that has been more or less on a sort of partial hold of sorts. There is still very much more to come… more in the future here than in the past… Cheers. 🙂

  3. Mark says:

    Indeed a great selection of images from the year David. Some standouts for me are the Collapsed Fence, Broken Gate, and Leaning Tree Detail. I wish you the best for a creative and healthy 2019.

  4. Wish you best for 2019 as well, Mark. Thank you for your feedback on which you like of these. Glad to see that Leaning Tree Detail is emerging as one that more people like than I expected. Many blessings!

  5. Gary Crabbe says:

    David: I really love your work and the way you see and present the world. There is such a sense of the bucolic nature that says Home, Quiet, Land, and Lifestyle. I especially love the Old Barns in the storm, the Horse Barn detail, Leaning Tree, and the Broken Gate are my personal favorites among a truly wonderful collection.

    Cheers & Have a wonderful 2019.

  6. Thank you, Gary. Some photo critics say that artists tend to depict what they are, while others say we tend to show not so much what we are, but what we seek, or our ideal vision of the world. I believe in my case it is a little of both. My life is certainly not always peaceful, but compared to many people’s in this day and age, it is much more of the time on purpose. Peace, quiet, home, land and lifestyle are much more important to me than a large income, although I do believe in time I may be fortunate to attain all of the above as I follow my vision. Also, I do tend to travel to places that make me happy and photograph what feels like “home” and “community” to me, especially for this Agriculture project because that is both what I see in it and what I envision for farms and ranches in an ideal world. May you prosper and find your own peace and happiness in 2019, my friend. 🙂

  7. Richard Wong says:

    I like your mission statement here, David. Great project and much different from your dad’s best-known work. Happy 2019!

  8. Hi Richard, I did write a project statement that contains my actual mission statement for this body of work, but I see now that I have again written another mission statement of sorts here. I’ll have to compare them and take points from both as my final goal statement for the project. As much as I love landscape photography, I had to do something different, or as a variation, not just from my father’s work, which was important for me to differentiate from, but also from the proliferation of landscapes that crowd the airwaves today. I also do not particularly see much mission at all in most of that kind of photography. It all starts to look the same, no matter how different it is, partly because latecomers to the profession in the last 20 years tend to travel around to the same locations over and over and even though they may each cover these places differently, it still all runs together, at least for me. Of course, a million people have photographed or painted barns before, so I am not doing anything particularly new either. Perhaps my work is different to a certain degree as I diversify my agricultural work to depict different subjects besides mere barns, as I set out to show the action of life on ranches and farms, and to incorporate or hybridize these scenes with landscape photography, which to me incorporates different aspects of who I am and seems like a natural fit with the nature of farms and ranches to begin with. May you have a happy and prolific 2019… 🙂

  9. Richard Wong says:

    We all have to focus on what makes us happy individually. I like to shoot the occasional icon but those a small part of what I do. If we just focus on ourselves and don’t dwell on others we will be much happier. The only person I’m trying to impress these days is my wife so I can get myself more time in the field.

  10. Totally agree, Richard. That’s what the great artists say anyway about art and who it is truly for, right? And, as for your wife’s inspiration, some of the greatest art ever created was produced to please the love of one’s life. They claim that was one of the reasons Shakespeare was so inspired and Michelangelo, Dante, who knows who else. I know that in my own life, the very few true loves, drove me on to accomplish much more than I would have. One recent one is still affecting me that way, even though she essentially kicked me in the teeth and broke my heart in some ways, I still think of her and get fired up to be a better person and make better art.

  11. Hi David, great set of images this year. Many to ponder over, I would say my favorite was the renovated Genessee store. Hope you have a great 2019 and beyond!

  12. Appreciate your input, T. M. May you have a bright future and 2019 as well. 🙂

  13. Richard Wong says:

    I don’t think it’s possible to make art unless you have experienced pain in life. What could you possibly have to say through art if you haven’t lost anything?

  14. In my youth, I had some rough experiences in school, was just browsing books on childhood trauma and apparently, experts now claim for good reason, that in this civilization we all experience childhood trauma. Art therapy is one of the best ways of healing trauma in general, that associated with neuroscience. Makes sense to me what you are saying, though I believe hidden trauma is very common and often thwarts creative expression to varying degrees until healed. On the other hand, more straightforward forms of loss and pain are perhaps not as widespread, though they certainly seem so these days.

  15. Richard Wong says:

    That’s true. Lingering trauma can impair any sort of productivity – Van Gogh being an extreme case. Art can definitely heal and I think that is where the most powerful art comes from. I also tend to listen to what some people consider to be sad or depressing music. It makes me feel good. I can’t listen to happy stuff very often as I can’t relate to it.

  16. I like sad music too, but I perhaps approach my listening from the opposite perspective at other times in that I listen to upbeat music to improve my mood or keep it positive. I like the rush of positive emotions while working.

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