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Photographer Gus Feissel: Have Camera, Will Travel


Photographer Gus Feissel: Have Camera, Will Travel

Photographer Gus Feissel
knows how to pick his locations.  He says, “I have traveled extensively, enjoying photographing Kyoto and the vibrant fall colors in temples and gardens.  The Li River area with its majestic mountains and cormorant fishermen, 

Ancesters, MonumentValley, AZ

the romantic West Lake in Hangzhou, and the spectacular Huangshan Mountains are but a few of the great photographic opportunities in China.  The people and colors of Rajasthan in India offer other captivating and colorful scenes.  Iconic sights in England and France draw one in, and the annual carnival in Venice is custom-made for photographers.  As you might guess, I enjoy the uniqueness of exotic places and of people of different cultures.”

Then, of course, there is Gus’s large collection of landscapes, especially those of the American and Canadian west.  “The Victoria and Vancouver areas and the Canadian Rockies are superb and, of course, our own western states, especially California, offer such a tempting diversity of natural phenomena that the hard part is deciding which place to go and where to aim the camera.”

Gus currently has a stunning show of the iconic formations in Monument Valley in Navajo 

Cormorant Fisherman in Li River China

country in Arizona.  “Monument Valley is a place of solitude and an extreme sense of isolation.  Although many of the scenic highlights are familiar from movies and magazines, those second-hand versions don’t prepare you for standing among these monoliths.  

Tear Drop Arch At Sunrise, Monument Valley, AZ

It is hard to exaggerate the beauty of this stark landscape.  It is where earth and sky meet in harmony.  In between, spectacular buttes, walls, and spires rise as much as 2000 feet from the desert floor.  They are the remnants of ancient plateaus and mesas worn away by water and wind.  Since the valley is a Navajo tribal park, visitors can’t simply wander on their own—which isn’t advisable anyway, since the land is crisscrossed by unmarked dirt tracks going who knows where.  My guide, Fred Cly, was excellent and had a good sense of the requirements of photography.  He was unerring in knowing just what time to be at each location.  Mesmerizing at any time, these formations are particularly enticing at sunrise or sunset.  Groups of formations also make this tribal park ideal for panoramas, which are nearly half of my show, which I’ve titled Monument Valley Magic.”

Gus continues, “The ultimate quest is to find the fleeting interaction between the photographer and the subject.  The degree to which the elements of subject, light, and overall circumstance can be successfully brought together, along with the skills required for image development, determines the impact of the photograph as an art print.  The stimulation and never-ending challenges of image capture and print development keep me heading out with my camera.”


Gus’s show, Monument Valley Magic, is at Riverfront Art Gallery, 132 Petaluma Boulevard in Petaluma through November 6.  Riverfront is closed Monday and Tuesday.