The Power of One

Silver Lake along the crest of the Sierra Nevada.  California.

Silver Lake along the crest of the Sierra Nevada. California.

I feel fortunate that Dr. Charles Goldman of the Tahoe Research Group and the Tahoe Environmental Research Center agreed to write the introduction to Lake Tahoe: A Fragile Beauty.  Dr. Goldman’s 50 years of study and advocacy on behalf of Tahoe has spawned a generation of scientists researching all aspects of the Lake Tahoe watershed.  His work has been instrumental in the founding of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, a California-Nevada bi-state agency that oversees all development in the Tahoe Basin.  His team at UC Davis has laid the foundation for much of the public policy addressing Tahoe’s challenges and has been at the heart of a model for environmental stewardship emulated the world over.

As with other contributions to Lake Tahoe: A Fragile Beauty, Dr. Goldman’s introduction is written in the first person and comes to the reader on a very personal level.  This element of individual contribution is how change is brought to our world.  If we wait for the group to act, the important work will not get done.  We all have a responsibility to pursue our passions and create the world we wish to see

Fifty years ago a man came west to study fresh water lakes and fell in love with Lake Tahoe.  Today,  agencies, universities, non-profits, and countless individuals have joined the effort to save Lake Tahoe.  The government has pledged $1 billion towards the cause.

The Approach: More Than Beautiful Photography

Cedar in snow.  Tahoma, California

Decayed stump.  Sugar Pine Point State Park, California

The challenge of the Lake Tahoe: A Fragile Beauty photography book project, was to utilize the photographic vocabulary to capture not only Lake Tahoe’s breathtaking grandeur, but also the ecological issues facing the basin and the historical context from which they arise. We wanted a book that would build upon earlier works of photography on Tahoe and remain relevant for years to come.

Lake Tahoe is revealed through images of both the majestic landscape and our interactions with the natural world. With an introduction by preeminent Tahoe research scientist Dr. Charles Goldman, poetry by former US Poet Laureate and 2008 Pulitzer Prize winner Robert Hass, and historical content by literary icon Mark Twain and 19th Century photographer Carleton Watkins, this important work not only expresses the beauty of Lake Tahoe but examines it as a microcosm of the environmental challenges confronting our time. Supporters include the Tahoe Environmental Research Center, the Oakland Museum, the Phoebe Hearst Museum, Adobe, and Hasselblad.

Since publication, I have found that this multifaceted approach is bridging disparate audiences and broadening the conversation – in terms of both the environment and photography.