Laurent Baig Photography Exhibit February, 2009

      The February, 2009, exhibition in our visitor center art gallery featured a Tucson artist's impression of the charisma or rocks and landscapes of the desert southwest. Photographer and rock-climber Laurent Baig's solo photography exhibition celebrated our Sonoran Desert landscape.

     "The arboretum exhibit showcased several images made in southeastern Arizona – a region where I discovered both a passion and a love. This land is rich in natural and cultural history; the diversity of life is incredible -- and I'm fascinated with the region's volcanic history. My photos also celebrate places which define the landscape surrounding my home in Tucson, such as the rock climbers' dream granite up at the top of the Catalina Mountains. Mountain bikers here can pedal through a place called "Acupuncture Alley," which is an aisle of great prickly pear cacti, and then emerge to see beautiful fall colors of maples, cottonwoods, and sycamores. The adage is true that in Tucson, you can drive from Mexico to Canada in a day.

     "This is a remarkable place, and I've found a deep appreciation for the open land and sky -- and after visiting other countries and seeing the wholesale loss of wilderness, I'm all the more convinced how crucial it is for all of us to protect the public lands and wild lands that we have - and I hope my photography helps convey this."

     Moving from California to Tucson wasn't Baig's first choice -- but one dictated by his work for Hughes Missile Systems. "So I arrived here and then hated it for the first two years; I was busy with school, but some colleagues were going on rock-climbing trips and I thought that sounded cool, so I joined them…and I was hooked.

       "I started rock climbing as an adult, but picked up a camera when I was young. I remember using 127 film -- and after getting into climbing, my father gave me his old Canon AE-1 camera. I bought a couple more lenses and started shooting. I switched to slide film and started photographing everything; also started reading John Shaw and other nature photography writers. I went to an exhibition of Jack Dykinga's work at the Arizona Sonoran Desert museum and my view of photography was transformed. Not long after, I picked up a 4x5 camera, took a workshop with a couple of fellows that are now good friends, and have been looking for images since."

          “Over the last couple of years, I've begun building a signature 'style,' although I can't really define what that is just yet. I can tell you what I like to photograph: trees, especially in fall color; cactus against a dramatic sky, and light falling upon stone. A common theme with my 'bigger landscapes' is storms. I love the light that accompanies a good storm and I often have to set up my camera and wait in miserable conditions for exactly the right moment that an incredible shaft of light pierces through and lights up the scene before me.”

      Living here in the Sonoran Desert we have that luxury, but its a luxury only available to me during the hottest part of summer! And as any landscape or nature photographer will tell you, the biggest part of the game is having the patience to return to a scene -- again and again -- waiting out those days of disappointment when that photograph you hoped for was not to be made that day. And then one day it happens.

      All works in this exhibit will be available for purchase; and range in price from $75 to $425. To contact the artist about purchases, commissions or assignments, email or call the artist at 520. 777. 3186 or else 520. 519. 4697.

Works shown on this page are (clockwise from top left) "Saguaro Silhouette #2," "Stone Pillars." "Maples & Sycamore," "Saguaro Window," and "Santa Rita Magic."

      Boyce Thompson Arboretum is at highway 60 milepost #223 near the historic copper mining town of Superior, a drive of about 45 minutes due East of Mesa. During February visitors are admitted from 8:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m., and the Arboretum closes at 5:00 p.m. (during summer months hours are daily from 6:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.) New exhibits begin each month and may be seen daily during business hours; the Arboretum is an Arizona State Park and daily admission must be paid to enter the Visitor Center where our gallery is found. Admission is $7.50 for adults and $3 for ages 5-12. Annual memberships at the Arboretum begin at $45, and include a year's access, guest passes for your friends and family, along with many other benefits. A membership may be purchased in the gift shop on the day of your visit. To review other recent gallery shows from...

Timm Chapman January, 2009
Paul Kinslow December, 2008
Maggie Leef November 2008
Sharon Sieben October 2008
Nicole Royse September 2008
Gila Community College Art July-August 2008
Judy Bottler Photography May 2008
Bob Estrin Photography April 2008
Mary Isham Watercolors March 2008
Susan Strom and Cathy Franklin Lightning Photography February, 2008
Arizona State Parks Plein Air Paintings January, 2008
Carolyn Gray & Connie Thomas December, 2007
Jean Sullivan November, 2007 Sue Cullumber October, 2007
Adriane Grimaldi September, 2007
Pima College print-making students July-August, 2007
Mesa Arts League June-July, 2007
Fred Charlton May, 2007
Paul Mudersbach March-April, 2007
Linda Kaiser February, 2007
Edith Kreueger-Nye December, 2006 - January, 2007
Cindy Carrillo October-November, 2006
Bob Rice September, 2006
Bud Heiss July-August, 2006
Mesa Arts League June-July, 2006
Sandy Tracey April-May, 2006
CJ Rider March, 2006
Jessica Green February, 2006
Steve Davidson January, 2006
Don & Carole Schupp December, 2005
Carolyn Gray November, 2005
Martha Burgess October, 2005
Boeing Photographers September, 2005
Lightning Lady Susan Strom July/August, 2005
Mesa Arts League June/July, 2005
Jeanette Bronson May, 2005
Tom Stanley April, 2005
Kathy McClure February-March, 2005
Pam Smyth January, 2005
Tina Faust December, 2004