The function of the levees and the floodplain, as photographed by Scot Miller. Photo by Scot Miller

The Trinity: Nature in Our Backyard

With a new photography exhibit, Scot Miller hopes to build a bridge over troubled waters.

Photographer Scot Miller has spent the majority of his career exploring the expansive backcountry of Yosemite National Park, thickets of the Maine woods, and crevices of the Sierra Nevada. But he never forgets home.

Scot and his wife, Marilyn, own Sun to Moon Gallery, living and working in their converted warehouse in the Design District. The Trinity River floodplain serves as their backyard, and Scot has spent years on, in, and along the Trinity with camera in hand, documenting everything as he explores the river and urban forest. Through August 15, the Millers are offering a visual culmination of the decade they’ve spent there, a group show titled “Nature in Our Backyard: The Trinity River & Great Trinity Forest.” 

Over the past few years, the Trinity River and Great Trinity Forest have garnered much attention—namely from hotly contested propositions to build a 9-mile, six-lane parkway through portions of the natural resource. 

“People are going to see areas that have been brought to the forefront recently in discussions,” Scot says.

The exhibit—consisting of more than 30 photographs from fine art photographers Dan Burkholder, Jill Skupin Burkholder, R.P. Washburne, and Miller—offers varying perspectives on an area often considered an afterthought. They share a common goal of helping people better understand the Trinity as crucial conversations shape its future.

The selections range in subject matter, but the greatest differences come in the photographers’ presentations. 

Dan Burkholder, once a student of Ansel Adams, sets his pieces apart from printed-paper works by combining the historic platinum/palladium printing process with 24-carat gold leaf. Jill Skupin Burkholder plays with the form as well. Her mastery lies in the bromoil process, in which a silver gelatin print is chemically bleached, partly removing the image. She adds her own interpretation by using brushes and lithographic inks to restore the photo, giving it an impressionistic and textured look. 

Miller, an award-winning photographer whose work has formed the basis of several books, offers large-format color prints of the area’s natural beauty, while Washburne, a founding partner of Mi Cocina, looks for complementary mixtures of light and compositions in his printmaking. The Millers hope the exhibit’s varying perspectives will draw curious and open minds.

“As the dialogue goes forward in the future as to what to do with the river and the forest, maybe people can become more engaged in their own opinions,” Scot says. “What their opinion is, in the end, is up to them.”

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