Vashon Center for the Arts, in the cooperation of Carolyn Anderson, is presenting a photographic homage to the late John Anderson in January 2024. Titled “Landscape & Desire: Homage to John Anderson,” the exhibition aims to celebrate how John’s work and character inspired fellow landscape photographers. Several of John’s large prints will be exhibited. Vashon photographers contributing landscape photographic artwork in honor John’s spirit are: Mary Liz Austin, Harvey Bergman, Jim Burke, Terry Donnelly, Michael Elenko, Ed Holmes, and Dawn Stief.



John Anderson has photographed wilderness areas since his early teens. He began under the tutelage of master photographers Arthur Bacon and Bob Kolbrenner, and later studied with Ansel Adams in his home in the Carmel Highlands. After graduating from Bennington College in 1981, John wrote, produced, and directed films which debuted at the Cannes and Sundance Film Festivals. 


The North American wilderness that still exists is a doorway to another world. Its lush and overwhelming complexity, harsh beauty, and alien remoteness awakens the chthonic soul. When I photograph this mythic landscape, I fall into a kind of trance induced by the spirit of the place and the unique quality of light. I look until I am taken by a configuration or gesture of the land that elicits an emotional response. The challenge then ensues to allow the image to pass through the equipment and process and emerge on the other side transformed yet retaining something of its original force. If successful, something of that other world resonates within the abstracted image. 

My hope is that these photographs will act as icons for a world which is beyond the grip of human management, beyond the progression of measured time, and even beyond our ability to fully understand it. A world that is truly wild. Only in such a world can we see the forces that have given shape to our psyche and which continue to live within the soul of each of us. I have chosen photography as my medium because of its kinship with reality and because it abstracts the subject from our everyday perception. This allows us to better see the stark alien boldness of the dark and shining wilderness which pulsates with life beyond the confines of our man-made imaginings.