This new book about the White Sands National Monument comprises a superb collection of photographs by Craig Varjabedian along with three essays about the area by Jeanetta Calhoun Mish, Dennis Ditmanson and Jim Eckles.
There is a magical element to be found in photographs of the white sands. One moment, the gypsum dunes look white-hot, as you would expect in a desert. The area seems parched, with an occasional yucca clinging onto life in the dry wilderness. Turn the page and the next image looks like frozen snowdrifts, smoking away in the breeze. This dichotomy extends to the sense of scale. An aerial image of ATV tracks criss-crossing the dunes turns out to be a macro picture of beetle footprints in the sand.
As well as pure landscape photographs, the book contains images of human activity and there is a small section of photographs of the adjacent White Sands Missile Range. One of the most striking images in this section features a Space Shuttle Runway, now abandoned and being steadily erased by the desert. Although man-made activity can despoil a beautiful area, nature will triumph in the long term by ...