Telluride Mountainfilm: Father & Son at Ah Haa for Gallery Walk

Telluride Mountainfilm: Father & Son at Ah Haa for Gallery Walk

The photographic work of father and son, Carl and Caleb Cain Marcus, will be on display in the East Gallery at the Ah Haa School for the Arts over Mountainfilm weekend, starting with Friday afternoon’s Gallery Walk. Full Gallery Walk schedule and overview here. 

“Another good local art story is the Marcuses, Carl and Caleb. You probably know the father, but the son is also a terrifically talented photographer with a lot of fine art credits as well,” festival director, David Holbrooke.

Ajax Sunset, by Carl Marcus

Ajax Sunset, by Carl Marcus

Though sharply contrasting in subject matter and feel, the photographic works of Carl and Caleb Cain Marcus share a hushed, dreamlike quality that transcends mere reportage and reveals something about place beyond overt details.

The men share a gift for paring down an image to its essence.

Their disparate work is monumental without shouting.

These are bravura visual narratives that feel at once both real and cinematic.

They are hauntingly impactful and memorable.

The father moved with his wife to Telluride the summer of 1978.

The son was born in a cabin on Wilson Mesa not long after, on September 2.

“As a child he was constantly in a backpack while we skied and hiked and backpacked in the mountains. His formative years were mostly spent surrounded and immersed in the mountains,” the father explained.

After spending many thousands of nights alone backpacking in the wilderness sans camera, the father had an ah ha moment after seeing an exhibit of a friend’s kaleidoscopic images: he too would start taking pictures.

As it happened, father and son discovered that new passion together and in hot pursuit, took three separate week-long workshops, then traveled on photo shoots in Alaska and in their backyard, the Southwest.

Full Moon, By Carl Marcus

Full Moon, By Carl Marcus

Two distinct and distinguished careers developed.

The dad, Carl Marcus, remained in Telluride, documenting the miracles of form and light in the San Juans.

Rocker Self-Portrait, Carl Marcus

Rocker Self-Portrait, Carl Marcus

The son, Caleb Cain Marcus, moved to New York City to explore the tangible quality of space through ethereal images of ice, fog-covered villages, and cityscapes.

But Caleb had grown up hearing his parents’ stories about India. When he traveled there as a boy, he felt, as he explained in, that the country was “soaked in spirituality and myth.”

Humans, water, earth, and space, Caleb Cain Martin from ”Goddess."

Humans, water, earth, and space, Caleb Cain Martin from ”Goddess.”

In 2013, Caleb returned to India for the third time, journeying 1,500 miles along the Ganges River from its origins in the Himalayan mountains, following the water as it sweeps past small villages, India’s booming agricultural and industrial plain and its holy cities, then pours into the Bay of Bengal.

The end result of that journey is a book entitled  “Goddess,” a tour de force of profoundly painterly landscape photography, with an emphasis on color, light, and atmospheric conditions encountered in India and Bangladesh.

With an emphasis on the mystery and magic of life.

In other words “Goddess” does not put out the usual spread: life around that seminal river. The images in the book depict the space around the river shrouded in mist, colors pushed to surreal.

Earth, water, humans, dolphin and space, Caleb Cain Marcus.

Earth, water, humans, dolphin and space, Caleb Cain Marcus.

In short, “Goddess” depicts a world as encountered in a dream, captured in a visual narrative that feels strangely hushed and poignantly cinematic.

(“Goddess” was published by Damiani in September 2015.)

Hay cow, dung and space, by Caleb Cain Marcus from “Goddess."

Hay, cow, dung and space, by Caleb Cain Marcus from “Goddess.”

In contrast, Carl’s images are more muscular, in your face, as they should be: he is, after all, documenting the dramatic, towering scenery of the Southwest. His is the perspective of a devoted local, not a skilled voyeur. Still, these images capture in a fraction of a second the inner emotion of our surroundings and the beauty of the forms within.

“Caleb and I often explore the  technical aspects of photography and the intent that underlies the image or series. Our commonality may be that we attempt to communicate, beyond the content of the image, the space that may open a doorway to what we do not know,” explained Carl.

Aspen Grove, by Carl Marcus.

Aspen Grove, by Carl Marcus.

Note: Caleb Cain Marcus lives and works in New York. His photographs are held in public collections that include the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; and the High Museum of Art, Atlanta, among others.

Cain Marcus has published two previous monographs: A Portrait of Ice ” (Damiani, 2012) that explores glacial landscapes and “The Silent Aftermath of Space” (Damiani, 2010), which includes a foreword by Robert Frank.

Cain Marcus holds an MFA from Columbia University. He is also a master digital printer for fine-art photographers.










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