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David Muench

David Muench has photographed the landscape in all its grandeur for half a century.  Traveling the U.S. since early childhood with his father, renowned photographer Josef Muench, there was never another way of life for him.  His 4 x 5 large format camera is as much a part of him as his innovative eye.  He has lately been experimenting with digital cameras as a result of his work photographing World Heritage Sites for UNESCO and Panasonic.  For him, every photograph is a journey in perception, an exploration in seeing.

Inventor of original and oft-imitated approaches to the landscape, Muench brings his own idea of geography into both his spectacular color and black and white images.  For him, the craft and the art of photography are paramount, yet nothing is more important than presenting his beloved wilderness to viewers so that they might be moved to act on its behalf.  For him, all of nature is a context, each tiny element of critical importance to the magnificence of the whole.  It is this connectedness he seeks, an idea he presents in the book, Plateau Light. “When photographing, I tune in to the natural rhythms and pulse of the land . . . to communicate and champion the stark beauty that is nature – its wildness, its opposites. . .”  As James Lawrence wrote in the text for Plateau Light, “Muench’s international reputation derives from an unflinching embrace of nature’s nuances.  He engages the primal landscape across all the human fronts:  as thinker, dreamer, seeker, lover, lifelong friend.”

Long intimate with America’s wild places, in recent years Muench has expanded outward across the globe, photographing in Antarctica, New Zealand, Australia, Iceland, Japan, Morocco, South Africa, the Galapagos, Patagonia, Russia, Belarus.  “I am inspired by the power and beauty of the primal landscape,” Muench says.  “In the unending experience it offers of light, space and time, I engage in my equally unending search for sublime beauty.”

Muench’s work has been exhibited in numerous museums and galleries, including the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, and Mountain Light Gallery in Bishop, California.  A shared exhibit with Ansel Adams and Jack Dykinga was mounted at the Phoenix Art Museum, The Center for Creative Photography, and the Museum of Northern Arizona.  He was commissioned by the National Park Service to provide 33 photographic murals presenting the landscapes of the Lewis and Clark expedition.  These are on permanent display at the Jefferson Expansion Memorial under the Arch in St. Louis.  Monumental in concept, the 15 foot tall panels extend more than 350 feet along their wall.  His work also hangs in numerous private collections.  He has published over 50 exhibit format books.  Most recent are:  Primal Forces, Windstone, Our National Parks, New Mexico, Plateau Light, Arizona.


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