Achromatic dunes rising from the Tularosa Basin shaped by the prevailing New Mexican wind, White Sands is a reflection of the unique environment around it. Perhaps more widely known for the activities at the adjacent missile testing range, there is a graceful rhythmic quality to the environment that is just begging to be abstracted. Formed of white gypsum from the surrounding mountains, the dunes absorb light and color. The wind shifts this natural palette to create a constantly changing and unique landscape. The dunes shift as much as 30 feet a year, and nightly wind storms make the dunes almost unfamiliar each morning. One feels small and insignificant, surrounded by the seemingly limitless interaction between the sinuous forms of the dunes and the shadows that they cast on each other.
In the fall of 2010 I spent four glorious days shooting White Sands and instantly fell in love with this mysterious environment. From sunup to sundown, I spent as many hours as possible exploring the vast dune field, getting a feel for the various rhythms they encompass.
My approach to the dunes followed a natural progression from defining their relationship to the large-scale environment, to seeing how they related to each other, and finally to gaining an appreciation for their inherent abstract nature. It was a great learning process for me.