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Then there's a book called "The Sierra Pinacate,"
which had been in the works for a real long time. It should have
been published before "Stone Canyons," but it's U of A
Press again, in conjunction with the Southwest Center, and that
was an old desert rat friend of Chuck's and mine named Julian Hayden,
who's quite famous. He actually took Chuck and I and Bunny Fontana Dr.
Bernard Fontana down into the Pinacate for the first time in his
old, I think it was a '47 or '51 International Carryall. Everywhere
in Mexico it's quite famous, because it was the first four-wheel
drive that a lot of Mexicans had ever seen down there. But anyway,
we went down there in Julian's old rust bucket ... You want me to
elaborate on this? This is a pretty good story.
Dykinga: So we're down there camping, and Chuck and I had
been you know, we had done all these backpack trips and we were
techno-weenies. We had all the backpacking gear and freeze-dried
food, and we had stuffed it in our light packs. There was this grizzled
old guy lookin' at us, kinda scratching his head as we throw our
sleeping bags on the ground. He proceeds to undo his military issue
cot, puts that out there. Then he stokes up a fire, and as Chuck
and I are dining on our freeze-dried food, he's having this delicious
steak (laughter) and hash browns. And Chuck and I are just sitting
there kind of whimpering. Another lesson. So it was a real privilege
to go with Julian and hear his stories of desert campfires with
famous people in the past. So that's "The Pinacate," and
that book was published after Julian died, and it has some of my
images actually mostly my images in it.
Then the final book was ... What was the final book? Oh! (laughs)
"Desert," and that's a catchy title. (laughs) And that's
on the Mojave Desert, which is actually a difficult desert to photograph,
so in spite of the fact that the images to me are not as compelling
as the Sonoran Desert, given the quality of the terrain and everything
involved, I'm really most proud of that book. The pastels, it has
a lot of nuance that the other books didn't have. So I think I'm
getting better as a photographer in that book.
Interviewer: Its awesome.
Dykinga: It's more subtle than some of the other books,
Dykinga: The only thing we didn't say about the last book
is the reason for it. (chuckles)
Dykinga: In every case, there's been a reason for it. "Stone
Canyons" was to create a park. The Mojave started in my mind
when I read that the Republican Congress had funded the new Mojave
National Preserve with a dollar. And I just thought, "This is a
real slap in the face." So I decided to go out there and just show
what a great place it is. So that, again, kinda goes back to journalism:
What I see myself as doing is merging traditional landscape, i.e.,
Arizona Highways photography, with more of a journalistic
goal in mind, of really documenting a place. Even though it's without
people, it's nonetheless a significant place. And that's very contrary
to when I was working for the newspapers we always had to have
people in every picture. So in landscapes, sometimes people don't
belong in the pictures.
Interviewer: Yeah, in fact, you kind of strive to keep 'em
Dykinga: Well, yeah, sometimes. I've done it both ways.
In "Secret Forest" there's some portraits of people with
a giant strangler fig in the background, or something like that.
But basically the last few books have been pretty much the landscape.