James Bruce Schwabach Artist Statement 2011
The photographs exhibited here are from a series of trips made to Yosemite National Park in California. I was awarded a sabbatical leave to visit the park, and to work through the Ansel Adams Gallery in Yosemite.
Native American history is rich in Yosemite, and many of the key landmarks have Native American names.
The Yosemite People called Yosemite Ahwahnee or “mouth,” because the valley
walls resembled a gaping bear’s mouth.
One of the oldest places to stay in the valley is the Ahwahnee Hotel.The site for The Ahwahnee, once a village of the native Miwoks, was chosen because of its exposure to the sun and stunning views of Yosemite's icons – Half Dome, Yosemite Falls and Glacier Point.
The Yosemite people called themselves as Ah-wah-ne-chee, or “dwellers of Ahwahnee.”
Hiking in the back country I visited many of the sites made famous by the photographs of Ansel Adams, and revered as spiritual by the Miwok tribe.
Tenaya Lake was named for the powerful Chief Tenaya of the Miwoks. When asked, Chief Tenaya, tried to explain the meaning of “Ahwahnee” by using sign language, using the motion of his hands, indicated depth, while trying to illustrate the name.
I made numerous trips in different seasons, to create a portfolio of the beauty that is Yosemite. Here I captured Half Dome, El Capitan, the Mariposa Grove of giant trees; and various images that capture the grandeur that is Yosemite.
Yosemite is a sanctuary for wildlife, and I was lucky to capture iconic images of Coyotes, and Deer.
These photographs may give the viewer an idea of how majestic these lands must have been to the early inhabitants, and to see in them a large spirit.
It is the calling of the artist to help us more clearly see these spirits in this once beautiful home of the Miwoks.