Review of “California Dreamin”
July 9, 1999
“Rocks, desert structures, ocean movements and the coastal light of Northern California play stirring roles in Chip Hooper’s contemplative black-and-white photographs, with a bow to the work of Ansel Adams. Living near the Big Sur Coast, Mr. Hooper explores his territory in all its daily moods and changes, from the flaming eruption of dawn over the sea at Big Sur to the milky dusk that settles on Soberanes Beach. In “Crashing Waves and Splash,” the power of water dramatically meets that of stone; in the striking “Birds on a Rock” the minute silhouette of three birds perch on a jagged formation that just out of low fog.
A few still-life-scapes, like “Dune No. 4,” are evocative of Brett Weston’s photographs, but in Mr. Hooper’s haunted “Anasazi Ruins” series, studies of ancient cliff dwellings in the Southwest desert, you can almost sense the spirits of the long-gone occupants. No affectations mar this work: the photography is robust, if on the traditional side.”