An Elegy for the Earth

David Ulrich

A masterful series of photographs highlighting the fragile beauty of a highly threatened landscape: the Oceano Dunes on the Central California Coast.
Publication date:
May 2022
Publisher :
George F. Thompson
Format Available     Quantity Price
ISBN : 9781938086922

Not Yet Published. Available for PreOrder.


• David Ulrich's incredible photographs of California's famous Oceano Dunes will be compared favorably to any previous renderings of the dunes and the Central California Coast, including those by the renowned photographers Ansel Adams and Edward and Brett Weston
• The images convey both a sense of place and of beauty and a reminder of what can be lost when we do not take care of the environment and world around us
• Any collector of photography or person interested in nature/California will be lured into this amazing book

Climate change is the great existential reality of our time. How we approach this crisis will affect life on Earth for all present and future generations. In spite of our collective ideals, irreversible damage to the environment is imminent and represents both an urgent local and global concern. Through photographs of an acutely endangered landscape, Oceano: An Elegy for the Earth explores the deep paradox between the devout, powerful presence of nature and environmental loss and damage.

Extending eighteen miles along Central California's famed coastline and divided into both a natural preserve and a state vehicular recreation area, the Oceano Dune complex has long fascinated photographers and artists such as Edward and Brett Weston and Ansel Adams. The ephemeral, ever-changing landscape here expresses a sublime order and reflects the many correlations between the land and the dynamics of human society. Using metaphors that inspire hope and explore impermanence and darkness contrasted with the purity of suffusing light, Ulrich's photographs have been likened to Mark Rothko's "silence and solitude" that express the resonance and subtle dimensions of consciousness.

The coastal environment of the Oceano Dunes is tempered by multiple threats such as incessant motorized activity, the toxicity of surrounding industrial-scale agriculture, and the second-worst air quality in the nation. Thus, for the title and sequence of the images, the photographer employs the literary form of an elegy, an extended reflection and lamentation on Earth during the twenty first century. An elegy refers to a poetic reflection of sorrow and love, often for a transient, mortal entity. As Ulrich writes: "Sorrow and love for Earth, indeed. No better articulation exists for my regard for our dying planet and common mother."