Culture » Visual Arts

Peter Marchand shares what he’s seen and learned living near the Navajo Nation

by

comment
PETER MARCHAND
  • Peter Marchand
Peter Marchand’s current black-and-white photography exhibit at Go-See Exhibition Venue, Navajo Cultural Landscapes, explores the Navajo Nation, the 17.5 million-acre territory in northeastern Arizona, southeastern Utah and northwestern New Mexico, an area larger than West Virginia.

“One thing I hope really comes through in the show is the respect I have for these people,” he says. Prior to his career as a photographer, Marchand was an ecologist, researching the ways living things adapt to their surroundings, especially in extreme climates. For animals, that usually means physical changes, but for people in these climates, that means cultural adaptations. In the past, he’s put together photo documentaries about the rancheros living and working in Baja California Sur and the Beja people of Sudan’s Red Sea state. He lived south of the Navajo Nation for some years and cultivated friendships with his neighbors, especially around Rough Rock, Arizona, a community that he says played a major role in championing bilingual education.

“[The Navajo] really see themselves as custodians of their environment,” says Marchand. “Their spiritual health and their physical health is really tied to the land that they inhabit... They’re extremely environmentally conscious.” Ever the teacher, Marchand’s photos are accompanied by detailed background information.

Most of the photos on display show landscapes, some with crops or animals. One depicts hand-planted corn sprouting. He notes the contrast between hand-planted corn in Arizona and places he’s been along the corn belt the Midwest, where the cornfields stretch for days, dense and endless.

Add a comment

Clicky Quantcast