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Hand and Ivy-From the “Humanlandscapes” Portfolio

Creativity and the space to dream new ideas is highly influenced by our surroundings and the culture and freedom it represents. It may be a challenging environment, and beauty is often the spark that ignites and leads us into places we have not thought about or considered before. Such a space where creativity is born is Big Sur, California, which is the place on earth that the image “Hand and Ivy” was photographed. Big Sur is the coastal region of central California that defines the word spectacular. It is the site of the Ventana Wilderness where the California Condor —a massive vulture–was saved from extinction, at least so far, and where the Santa Lucia Mountain Range rises directly from the sea to enfold numerous hidden hot springs and steep barely accessible canyons. It is both wildly untamed, and the site of several posh resorts that are famous for their beauty, price, and service. The gorgeous and unique Post Ranch Inn ($700.00-$1800.00) per night or The Ventana Inn and Spa ($700.00-$1000.00) per night will give you the best in first class service. Mix this with great camping sites, New Age retreats at the Esalen Institute and its clothing optional hot spring bath, and the spectacular Pacific Ocean vistas and it is easy to see the many reasons to escape to Big Sur for both pleasure and solitude. Little is known about the original native people who lived here, although the local hot springs were known to be sacred places to them. The Native-American tribes included the Esselen, the Rumsiens, and the Salinans. In some ways, the culture here has changed little over the centuries, as the people who call Big Sur home have placed an enormous value on preserving the mixed and natural beauty that resides here. Author Henry Miller who wrote the book “Tropic of Cancer” in 1934 which made him internationally famous lived and wrote here, and a small museum called The Henry Miller Memorial Library sits by the roadside and continues to sell his books and philosophy to this day. So Big Sur oozes history and photographers including the Westons and Ansel Adams have long found inspiration here. It is the “Yosemite Valley” of the California coast. Its culture of rebels, people with unorthodox ideas, and free thought is an ideal place to do figure photography. The pleasures of nature are everywhere, so it is easy to join the call of a relaxed and natural way to relate to ourselves. This freedom is self affirming for everyone, and the air, water, and trees call to you to immerse yourself in this freedom. It is a seductive call not to be ignored. “Hand and Ivy” was taken on a small farm overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Big Sur and celebrates the seductive powers of this special place near San Francisco, CA. P. Miller 

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