Images of Arizona


<< previous: career path

Background to his Books

Interviewer: How many books have you done, all tolled?

Dykinga: Jesus, I don't know.

Interviewer: You don't even know?

Dykinga: Okay. The first book was "Frog Mountain Blues." Chuck and I had done a hike up and across the [Santa] Catalinas from Oracle [Arizona] to Tucson. I guess it was about Day Three we sat down and I said, "You know, we ought to do a book on this, 'cause it's kind of interesting having a wilderness area so close to a major metropolitan area that's expanding into it." Actually, now that you look at it in hindsight, it's even more relevant now, because now the city is literally working its way all the way around the mountain. So anyway, we did the book, and we decided that it would be a combination of color landscapes and mostly black-and-white shots of destruction. So that was the visual aspect. And then Chuck would intercut stories about early residents and buckaroos that were here early on, and take it up to current times. It was my first book. It was a way to get your foot in the door into publishing. It wasn't exactly what I wanted by a long shot.

The next book was "The Sonoran Desert," which again I suggested and pitched to Abrams and told him Chuck would write the text. That one went very well, I thought. In fact, it's still doing well in soft cover. That's two. And "The Sonoran Desert" is really an overview of the Sonoran Desert, which I've been kind of amazed that nobody'd ever done, 'cause the Sonoran Desert, stretching from California, through Arizona, Sonora [Mexico], and then down in both Bajas, is really a pretty ambitious project. So I wanted to look at the whole thing, and managed to do so in the process of doin' that book.

Then came "Secret Forest," that was Chuck's idea, and Chuck had listened to all these scientists kind of bemoaning the fact that the trees were getting chopped down, and everybody was kind of wringing their hands, and Chuck said, "Well, why don't we do something?" So he called me up and said, "Well, would you do the landscapes? I'll get so-and-so to do the people pictures and so-and-so to do the wildlife photos." I said, "No, I'll do it all. Let's go." And we just went off and did it. I think if you get too many people involved, it's not as good a product, really. So that was number three.

Then came "Stone Canyons of the Colorado Plateau." That was based on two drainages. It was a way to look at the Colorado Plateau through the Paria Canyon and the history that was deeply rooted in both areas. Escalante and the Paria drainages were Mormon and Native American passageways for a long time. So that gave us a good peg to kind of hang it on. I mean, I said, "we need a national park here." (laughs) And then Chuck dug up some information on Harold Ickes, the first one, and the early proposals of making a national park, and kind of reopened that whole issue. I know that Babbitt got a copy early on, and I suspect that that was kind of a catalyst to give them something to hold to Clinton creating a park.

continued: books >>


behind the scenes / in the footsteps of barry goldwater / the experience
photography / plan your adventure / interview / biography

jack dykinga / leroy dejolie / david muench


copyright 2001, KAET. All rights reserved.