The Corner Store Presents Tom Grahame Wilderness Light and Life: Canadian Lakes and Alaska

By Editorial Team on December 4, 2018

Sat, 08 December 2018 - Sat, 22 December 2018

Mt. Blackburn: 5 AM by Tom Grahame. Courtesy of the artist.
Opening: Saturday, December 8 from 5pm to 7:30pm

Long-time Capitol Hill resident Tom Grahame has been invited to exhibit his wilderness photography in a solo show at the Corner Store (900 South Carolina Ave SE, Washington D.C. 20003).

Called “Wilderness Light and Life: Canadian Lakes and Alaska,” the show opens Saturday, Dec. 8, from 5 pm to 7:30 pm, and continues through Saturday, Dec. 22.

Grahame will be exhibiting 24 photographs, distilled from thousands he has taken during 50 years of hiking, canoeing, and rafting. Six photos are from a single 1983 canoe trip in Canada’s Quetico Provincial Park, one of 13 such trips he enjoyed in Canadian wilderness areas. Eighteen photos are from many summer trips to different parts of Alaska, a state Grahame visited 18 times.

“I cannot explain why nature and wilderness mean so much to me, but I have spent substantial amounts of my life seeking both,” says Grahame. His love of the natural world has taken him as far as Bhutan, Nepal, the Alps, Guatemala, and Mexico for hiking and birding trips.

“I have been at the right place at the right time often enough to produce visions that have stirred me for years.”

In the Canadian series, Grahame shows us the visual magic that can occur when still waters and light interact in the wilderness:

  • Rocky cliffs and their greenery create diamond-shaped Rorschach-like patterns along motionless shorelines.
  • A craggy tree stands silhouetted before a blood-red sky and water, both reddened as sunsets were worldwide for a few years after Mexico’s El Chicon volcano erupted in 1982.

Two Canadian photos are from a morning so misty and still that Grahame could not tell where the lake’s water ended and the sky began, even after the sun appeared reflected as a golden orb. The photos bring to mind Hiroshi Sugimoto’s minimalist images that explore the boundaries between air and water, although Grahame was unfamiliar with the work of this photographer — or their shared interest– when he took the photos.

Grahame’s eighteen Alaska photographs also capture nature’s visual magic and many moods. For example:

  • In Wrangell-St. Elias National Park at 5 am, the pastel pinks of dawn illuminate the top of majestic Mt. Blackburn, a 16,391-foot extinct volcano, and the small conical cloud just above, almost like a hat.
  • In the Chugach Mountains, a full moon at midnight appears to sit atop Calliope Peak, brightening the mountain’s snows during the summer’s few hours of darkness.
  • In the Brooks Range, young Dall sheep look quizzically at their mothers as the ewes spot Grahame’s head protruding above a ridge.
  • A lone hiker on the Raven Glacier is dwarfed by her surroundings; a moulin on the Root Glacier reveals the cobalt blue of glacial ice compressed by the ages.

The photos will be available for purchase framed, or unframed, in three sizes.

Gallery hours:

  • Wednesdays from 4 pm-6 pm;
  • Saturdays from 11 am-2 pm;
  • or by appointment (202-255-2180).

The Corner Store is located at 900 South Carolina Avenue, SE across from Eastern Market Metro. You may reach the gallery by phone at 202.544.5807 or online at