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Mohave Point, South Rim, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona, 1994.

Designated a Favorite Book of 2023 at photo-eye!

Included on Brad Zellar's Photobooks of 2023 list.

"In Park Place: Out West Heberlein does something against the grain: he takes America's greatest success, its most serious totem, its very best idea . . . and pokes a little fun. Exploring over decades—and often with his family—the great American National Parks, Heberlein casts an eye through vacation photos not on the vacation but the vacationer; turning and turning in a widening gyre over the West, he turns his falcon-eye not to the marvel of the land but the humans that mar it. ... It is, perhaps, one of the most enjoyable books of American nature photography ever made—poking fun at its viewer and its creator alike..."
—B.A. Van Sise, author and photographer for Children of Grass: A Portrait of American Poetry (Schaffner Press, 2019) (review for New York Book Journal)

"Heberlein's debut monograph collects his b/w photos of American national parks made over the course of road trips between 1992 and 2019. "My parents instilled in me a love of travel, of being adrift," he explains in the intro. Lucky him, the wanderlust stuck through adulthood. All sites are in western states. Since the parks are naturally photogenic, his pictures have a majestic quality in the rough tradition of Ed Weston or Ansel Adams. They can't help it. But, unlike those purists, Heberlein was interested in people too. Almost every photo includes human activity, either in the form of park visitors or infrastructure. Distant roads are a common element in several images, while others make good use of interpretive signs for comic effect. In many photos he takes up position directly behind park visitors, juxtaposing sweeping views with bystander posteriors. These might be a commentary on tourism, voyeurism, or perhaps a form of meta-selfie. Not sure, but in any case the whole book has a witty spirit, which lifts it above the great boring mass of calendar-ready nature photography. Throw in a nice feel for serendipitous composition, and the book can surprise. Pictures from Death Valley and Mount St. Helens, for example, layer odd shapes across space with Friedlanderish precision. The printing is great, and the production is top-notch."
—Blake Andrews, photographer and blogger

"David Heberlein's Park Place: Out West offers a fresh meditation on the complex relationship between humans and what we term 'wilderness.' This quest for proximity to the natural world has led us to seek out the wild, yet we do not wish to leave behind our creature comforts. Heberlein's wry photographs reveal our longing to be a part of, instead of apart from, nature. Often cloaked in humor or irony, these images are emblematic of our hunger for natural vistas coupled with our collective fear of destroying the planet, as if to experience it for the last time."
—Michelle Van Parys, Professor of Art Emerita, College of Charleston, and author of The Way Out West: Desert Landscapes

"The American wilderness, if it ever truly existed, is long gone. The health of planet Earth has been severely compromised by human actions, but, as seminal landscape photographer Mark Klett has reminded viewers for decades, there is still so much beauty. And the human desire to go adventuring and to experience the wonders of the world with our own eyes and feet continues on. Especially if there is good parking and decent restrooms. Heberlein's elegant and gently humorous photographs wonderfully capture the moment in which we find ourselves, burning fossil fuel to get out into the landscape and take selfies in sanctioned scenic spots. Yes, the saguaros are interspersed with utility poles, but he doesn't begrudge us the thrill of discovery on our own terms. Park Place: Out West is a distinctive contribution to the ongoing dialog about the human relationship with nature and a reminder to all of us to get up off the couch and see what's out there!"
—Katherine Ware, Curator of Photography, New Mexico Museum of Art, and author of Earth Now: American Photographers and the Environment and Man Ray, 1890–1976

"Over many years, I've watched David Heberlein patiently pursue a visual examination of a particular western place. The idea of those places as preserved acreage of wilderness runs counter to the position of them as theme parks. Within that dichotomy Heberlein has focused on the 'act of looking,' offering moments of quiet discovery and wry incongruities. That he has accomplished this with grace and insight is a testament to his photographic skills and his tenacity."
—Wayne Gudmundson is Professor Emeritus of Photography, Minnesota State University Moorhead, and author of The Prairie Post Office: Enlarging the Common Good in North Dakota, Thirty Poems to Read to Beginning Photography Students, and A Song for Liv



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