Slot canyons offer a glimpse of the divine handiwork of our creator. They are among the wonders of the natural world with a unique mystique rarely seen on earth.
Located within the boundaries of the Navajo Nation in northern Arizona, Antelope Canyon is among the largest of the slot canyons in the American Southwest and the most heavily visited. As such, countless images have been made and articles written about the canyon and through these I have come to know something of the natural beauty of this place.
In April of 2011, I was drawn to the Navajo lands to explore Antelope Canyon for myself and experience the exquisite beauty and stark silence for which slot canyons are so well known. I also knew that photographing the canyons would present a formidable challenge working with heavy photographic equipment in highly constrained workspaces, dealing with extremes in contrast and setting up the right compositions in near total darkness in some areas. It was a challenge I was ready to take on as a photographer.
“Abstractions in Stone” showcases the natural beauty of Upper and Lower Antelope Canyons as I experienced them at different hours of the day. Minute by minute, as the sun moved across the sky, the angle of the light in the canyons would shift. For just a few short minutes, a magnificent scene within the canyon would burst into a luminous panoply of delicate colors propagated by reflected light. Then, almost as suddenly as it appeared, it would fade away as the shifting light would magically light up other sections of the canyon. The images in this book are presented the way they appeared for a moment in time. The same image minutes later would look entirely different. That is why it is nearly impossible to duplicate images made in slot canyons. Each one is a unique composition.
These canyons are sacred to the Navajo people. As you view these images, you will come to understand and feel why these canyons always have had and will continue to exert a strong spiritual influence on the Navajo people. It is my sincere hope that those who visit these canyons in the future will respect our Navajo hosts and hallow this sacred land. It is their home.
Thomas S. Parry is a freelance photographer and writer. Holding advanced university degrees in languages and linguistics, he has built a successful career as a linguist, college professor, researcher, writer, higher education administrator and management consultant in academia and government for more than 30 years. Throughout his career, Thomas has traveled extensively to different parts of the world and photographed fascinating places and captured people in the course of their day-to-day lives. An avid nature photographer, Thomas specializes in photographing the environment, landscapes, seascapes, wildlife and birds. He is currently expanding his portfolio to include urban "cityscapes" and artistic interpretations of urban life. He has won numerous photographic awards and his work has appeared in Nature Photographer Magazine, Black and White Magazine and Photographer's Forum Magazine's Best of Photography 2011. He is a member of NAPP and Center for Photographic Art in Carmel, CA.