For the past five years Misrach’s work has focused on the desert of the Coachella Valley in Southern California. In the course of this portrait of the desert, several distinct concerns have emerged, especially the fires that ravage the landscape daily, and the floods that have created the vast area known as the Salton Sea. Though these subjects are usually considered the domain of journalism, Misrach’s photographs clearly recognize a larger metaphorical significance in these subjects.
Considered one of the most influential photographers working in color, Misrach’s new work evidences an extraordinary sensitivity to light and its atmospheric effects on the land. His use of the cumbersome 8”x10” view camera fills the photographs with dense and rewarding detail. Misrach is the recipient of three NEA and one Guggenheim fellowship. “Scenes of the American Desert” will be published as a monograph in 1986 by University of New Mexico Press.