Black Dome Press

Trunks of the Gunks



A Visual Odyssey through the Shawangunk Mountains in Search of the Unexpected

Photographs by Nora Scarlett

Foreword by Paul Huth, Daniel Smiley Research Center, Mohonk Preserve

Hardcover (casebound), 9″ x 9″, 144 pages

149 full-color photographs

ISBN 9781883789862, $35.00


Studio photographer Nora Scarlett hiked for over ten years throughout the “Gunks”—the Shawangunk Mountains of New York State. “I looked for wacky formations, humorous characteristics, improbable locations, surprising shapes, and other wondrous growths. Such specimens occur frequently at the intersection of rock and root in this geologically unique area, the Shawangunk Mountains, a ridge extending from New Jersey to the Catskills. I became awed at scene after scene displaying how life adapts to adversity and how it succeeds in astonishing ways. Tiny seedlings emerge from small cracks in rock, sprouting a handful of needles or tender leaves, knowing only to keep trying to grow. Enormous hemlocks hang off ledges, improbably rooted to something, looking as if they shouldn’t be upright, and yet … there they are.”


Every now and then someone comes along who looks at things in a different way, with a different eye so to speak. Nora Scarlett is one of those people. … Nora Scarlett has captured for us images of trees that convey the depth of their history of adversity and resilience, and a determination to live that is not only inspiring and thought-provoking, but evokes in me a renewed respect for the complexity of life itself. Dr. Paul C. Huth, Director of Research Emeritus and Associate Curator, Daniel Smiley Research Center, Mohonk Preserve

ABOUT THE PHOTOGRAPHER  Nora Scarlett worked as a photojournalist for the campus press while attending UC Berkeley during the exciting and turbulent early seventies, then moved to New York City in 1976 and began assisting several respected photographers, learning both technical and studio management skills. Inspired by large-format cameras and studio lighting, she discovered a talent for creating still-life photographs. After many hours in the studio developing her craft and style, themes emerged that still define her work: bold use of color and light; elegant and sometimes quirky composition; a fascination with making ordinary objects beautiful; and developing concepts that result in a series of images. Early on she created an alphabet, “The Scarlett Letters and Numbers,” an ambitious project spanning ten years and resulting in twenty-six images depicting each letter in a simple, still-life composition.

            By the mid-1980s Nora was shooting major advertising assignments, working with leading agencies and talented art directors on well-known campaigns for clients such as American Express, The Gap, Reebok, Kodak, IBM, AT&T, Nickelodeon, General Foods, Swissair and Knoll. She won numerous awards from the Art Director’s Club, the One Show, the Clios, and Print Magazine. After twenty years and the birth of two children, Nora and her family moved to the New Paltz area in 1998, buying a home in the woods bordering Mohonk Preserve where she now has more time to focus on personal projects and to pursue photography in a less commercial way.


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This product was added to our catalog on Friday 28 October, 2016.

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