David Muench is legendary in the American landscape photography community. For 50 years he has explored the United States capturing the land and wilderness with his 4×5 view camera. He has discovered and photographed a diverse range of unique and beautiful locations, many captured with a camera for the first time. Some of David’s discoveries are popular locations with landscape photographers today. In this video David will discuss his portfolio: The Eastern Sierra.
Davids biography begins in the Sierras, as a child on pack trips with his parents, his father the noted landscape photography pioneer; Joseph Muench and his mother, a writer. These first views were David’s introduction to wild places that became the subject for my own photography, but more than that, the places that have offered him a lifetime of solace, of adventure, of joy.
As a child, David watched his father his father photograph and that led him into is own photographic work. David helped helped his father do his photography work . . . as a young child as his model and as a teenager, helping him print his black and white photographs.
David made his first photographs as a teenager in the late 1950s, and had his first photographs published as front and back covers of Arizona Highways when Raymond Carlson was editor, and David was still in high school. For David, there was never any question of his career. He attended Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, NY, and the Los Angeles Art Center School of Design, both experiences providing him with the formality of a degree in photography, and an understanding of the technology of the time, but he felt — and continues to feel — that his most profound learning experiences were in the field. Even now, as the technology of photography explodes in directions undreamed of in his early days, David continues to learn, to expand in new directions, and it is nature that remains his teacher.
David’s work has been shown in numerous exhibitions, including Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Phoenix Art Museum, Center for Creative Photography, Museum of Northern Arizona in Flagstaff , but what is his most enduring are the more than 50 exhibit format books he’s photographed and published published. The books allow him to share in depth the subjects — the landscapes — that inspire him. Two of these (and a number of articles) have been done with his wife, the writer Ruth Rudner.
He is among the archived photographers at the Center for Creative Photography at the University of Arizona, Tucson, short-listed for this honor by Ansel Adams, founder, with John Schaefer, of the CCP.
As a two-time Canon Explorer of Light, David worked with the Canon Systems cameras that were the mainstay of his 35mm work. Participation in a UNESCO/Panasonic sponsored project to photograph World Heritage Sites propelled him into learning to photograph with digital cameras. He revels in the freedom these cameras bring. But, for him, photography—with any kind of camera– is a matter of seeing.
Perhaps, for David, all of life is that, which makes his biography quite simple! He photographs as he sees and he sees what is wild. David says he cares that his photography speaks for the wild beauty he treasures and cares that his children, Zandria and Marc, both photographers, continue that legacy.
Do biographies have a beginning and an end? Or do they simply have a continuing mission in the work one does . . . . for David, the journey continues . . .
Our interview series with David began on 2012 as he chronicles a life in the wild and with a camera. Please enjoy our conversation with David Muench: a national treasure!
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