The desert in black and white

Georgia O’Keeffe lived most of her adult life in Manhattan, where she was part of the New York arts scene. So was Alfred Steiglitz, the famous photographer, who became her sponsor and later her husband. Then she fell in love with northern New Mexico, and brought her New Yorker husband with her.


At the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe, I was moved by her paintings of the Southwest, and especially her use of color. But I was also struck by Steiglitz’s photos of the desert, which were – like his Manhattan work – in black-and-white. How could anyone go into the desert of New Mexico, which is so alive with natural colors, and see it in black and white?

The next day we went for a hike at the Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument, a spectacular but uncrowded corner of the desert. I decided to give the Steiglitz method a try. Here are some of the results.