About

Path in the redwood forest

“Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt.” – John Muir

I really enjoy making pleasing photographs of our natural world. I also love the experience of being in unpeopled places, those of stillness and quiet, of solitude, sometimes of drama. Photography and simply being there are a good match.

There is something more, though: all the photographs here were taken on our public lands.

It has been a genuine privilege to make wonderful use of our public lands throughout my long life. I’m talking about the big public lands on the western side of the country, those owned by the federal government that were retained when western territories were granted statehood. When visiting these lands with camera in hand I am often reminded of a statement by the late West Coast photographer, Morley Baer, “Photography [then] becomes the medium through which one makes a statement about the love of place.” 

Talk to visitors from the east or a foreign tourist at any Utah scenic overlook. All are impressed with the vistas, but many are stunned at the vastness, the open space as far as you can see and almost none of it off-limits to regular folks. That’s not the way it works in most places elsewhere. And it is not the way it will continue to work here if the privatizers and others with hands in the cookie jar have their way in Washington, DC. These lands are ours to lose.

Although my photographs are intended to be more expressive than documentary, I do hope they provide some evidence of just what is at risk. In any case, I hope also that you will enjoy them.

Charlie Judson
Sebastopol, California