Desert Fire #1 (Burning Palms)
American, born 1949
In 1979, California-born Richard Misrach began Desert Cantos, a series of eighteen discrete groups of images that explore the deserts of the American West. The Cantos comprise thousands of photographs spanning twenty years and include prints that are lyrical, joyous, horrific, and ironic. They often record moments of human violence and indifference set against a landscape of exquisite natural beauty.
From photographs of natural and human-made disasters to nuclear test sites, space shuttle launches, and tourist meccas, Misrach raises probing questions about the complex relationship between man and the environment. Desert Fire #1 (Burning Palms) exemplifies the paradoxical quality of the Cantos. Misrach lets the viewer wonder about the cause of the fire in this seductive composition.