American photographer Mark Burns is no stranger to National Parks. From 2011-2016, he traveled to all 59 Parks in the country (there are now 61) and photographed them as part of his “National Parks Photography Project.” At the end of that project, he decided to embark upon a second project: capturing the diversity, beauty and wonder of the Grand Canyon in photographs for its 100th Anniversary as a National Park.
That exhibit, “Grand Canyon Photographs: 1919-Celebrating the Centennial-2019,” opened this week at the Sam Houston Memorial Museum’s Walker Education Center. A collaboration between the SHMM and the LEAP Center, the exhibit featured more than 30 photographs by Mark Burns–as well as three original Ansel Adams’ photographs loaned by the Center for Creative Photography at the University of Arizona.
This event was particularly special for the LEAP Ambassadors, who have worked with Burns for the past three years. Worked “with” might be overdoing it a bit. We’ve been privileged to accompany him on several trips to National Parks, while also documenting some of his projects. So it was particularly nice to take part in this opening exhibit, which we helped sponsor.
With opening remarks from Casey Roon, the Exhibit Curator….
…and from the man of the hour, Mark Burns….
…who discussed the stories behind some of the photographs; the challenges associated with the weather, the crowds, and the travel….
…and then he encouraged guests to explore the gallery-including the Adams’ photos–and find their favorite.
As it turned out, there were almost as many favorites as there were guests in attendance….
Many guests were able to interact with Mark Burns and ask him about his work.
Speaking of guests, part of the evening’s fun was interacting with those on hand. It’s always great to spend time with Mac Woodward, the Museum Director; and we also had a chance to spend time with the Jim and Nancy Gaertner; Curtis and Lydia Montgomery; Scott and Mary McCarley; Derek Birdsall; Megan Buro; Ryan Brim; Megan Arnold; Anne Jamarik; Rosa Alvarez; Maggie Denena–even Maggie’s parents were there! Also, it was Victoria’s first official event as a LEAP Alum.
It’s always fun to spend time with friends, especially when surrounded by beautiful art. We encourage others to bring their friends and see the beautiful photographs before the exhibit moves to the Pearl Fincher Art Museum on September 5.