If you’re looking at this photo and going what an awesome photo; you’re probably right, it is! There were actually bears involved, and it was all done in the name of an art exhibit which one can now see in Los Angeles. In the past, landscape painters from the Hudson River School like Thomas Cole and Albert Bierstadt widened their geographic range from their New York eponymous valley and moved to the untamed lands in the west searching for glory from the spectacular sceneries. Their excavations in these untamed lands have left many historians describing their paintings as breathtaking depicting them as westward expansion advertisements.
The decades after has seen photographers like Eadweard Muybridge and Carleton Watkins following this path of photography techniques using the latest technology. Compared to shooting pioneers back then who needed a lot of equipment to carry out such jobs, photographers can today tour regions such as the Yosemite Valley carrying sketchbooks and conduct minor studies and transform these studies into a full-blown studio job.
ScanLAB’s Co-Founder Matthew Shaw states that the photographers would back them need huge kits to get the job done while on horsebacks.
Resulting images from these trips including those done in the early 20th century by Ansel Adams went ahead to become some of the most coveted paintings in the history of the photography industry. Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) Director, Joel Ferree says the Ansel Adams paintings are one of the best images when it comes landscape imaging.
To this end, ScanLAB and LACMA came together to upgrade this process and give it a 21st century feel in a period where the landscapes seem endangered with the threat being the federal government. With this time the transportation being a Hyundai Santa Fe compared to the old Adam woody wagons, the artists are employing an advanced lidar scanning equipment (three-dimensional) which can give a 360-angle view of the scenery.
Mathew Shaw states that when they started the project with the Hyundai positioned inside the landscape, it seemed to be somehow a tiny dot in the Yosemite Valley. The end has seen them instead insert this valley into the Hyundai. This transportation pick was found to be an appropriate modern substitute by the ScanLAB team compared to the transportation used by their predecessors such as horses.
Shaw states that even though the Santa Fe offered some benefits, the final site documentations had to be done on foot as the Santa Fe could only go so far. Still, ScanLAB members had their fan with the Hyundai and managed to create some spectacular vehicular imagery similar in a way to that of their forbearers.
Shaw continued to say that they placed the 3D scanner on the Hyundai roof (Ansel Adams-style) and as they did that, they ran into park rangers at a spot in the park where they would get the epic view they needed. The place happened to be a busy tourist spot, nevertheless, with a few slaps on the wrist and a ranger’s card handover, they were good to go. The teams camped nearby and didn’t sleep or live in the SUV. However, the SUV at times gave them protection when they had encounters with bears, stating that one morning they found a bear footprint on the Santa Fe.
During LACMA’s project opening, the car will feature as a part of the project installation where visitors will find it parked on the museum campus grounds with the interior absent and with a matte gray paint job. The attendees will get up close and personal with the machine and will be able to see the small openings on the Santa Fe that were made during the Yosemite Valley excavations.