How Porter Started Making Books The Dilemma with Glen Canyon The Artist Perspective
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The Artist's Perspective

Balanced Rocks, Balanced Rock Canyon, Glen Canyon, Utah, September 6, 1962 (P1990.51.5152.1)     Porter took eleven boating trips through Glen Canyon. He discovered the unique features of this beautiful place. On his first trip through the canyon, Porter was amazed and overwhelmed by its beauty. Every time he saw a potential camera shot, a new one appeared. Glen Canyon's impressive walls of red sandstone were carved by water over millions of years, creating intriguing shapes and colors. Porter recalled:
"... the first canyon experience is too overwhelming to let you take in more than the broadest features and boldest strokes. The eye is numbed by vastness and magnificence, and passes over the fine detail...The big features, the massive walls and towers, the shimmering vistas, the enveloping light, are all hypnotizing.”

Along with its striking beauty, the canyon also had smaller treasures: special plants, animals, and ancient Native American drawings, which gave the canyon additional importance. Porter, Brower, and others felt the canyon was a national treasure that should be preserved.

"It is reflection that imparts magic to the waters of the Glen Canyon and its tributaries. Every pool and rill, every sheet of flowing water, every wet rock and seep — these mirror with enameled luster the world about....” — Eliot Porter 


Composing a Subject Expression Through Color The Place No One Knew
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2002 Amon Carter Museum