These Psychedelic, Rainbow-Colored Landscape Photos Make a Subtle Political Statement

Zoe Sessums, Sight Unseen, November 26, 2018

You might not think of a series of landscape photos awash in dreamy swipes of color as a necessary political statement, but Oakland-based artist Terri Loewenthal is making one: “Our current political reality includes a government unwilling to confront ecological collapse and a president who is actively deaccessioning public land,” she said in an interview earlier this year. “I want my images to help preserve the wildness of our open spaces — by heightening and newly envisioning that wildness.” Lucky for us, her so-called Psychscapes also give us something equally and necessarily beautiful to get lost in. Her photographs of land and sky explore the American West with moodiness and rainbow-colored mystery.


Loewenthal uses a Mamiya 645 camera and various filters — in secret ways — to create her imagery made entirely in-camera and on-location. “Looking through old journals, I recently came across one from 2013 where I first wrote about the idea of creating my own imagined psychedelic landscapes,” says Loewenthal. “Four years of experimentation later, I think I might finally be onto something.” In Loewenthal’s hands, trips to Death Valley, Granite Mountain, and the eastern Sierras become colorful, complex, and evocative environments. These single-exposures are wild yet familiar, studied yet surprising. Be sure to check out her Instagram, too, where the descriptions of color — all banana, tangerine, and razzleberry — are worth freeing your mind for.