Photographing the Pacific Rim of North America

Black and white panoramic and small-scale works featured at SJU Gallery

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

PHILADELPHIA (January 12, 2009) - Over the last five years, David Freese has traveled the northeastern quadrant of the Pacific Rim – referred to as the “Ring of Fire” by geologists – to photograph six thousand miles of seacoast. A collection of his digitally toned photographs, titled “From Bering to Baja: The Pacific Rim of North America,” will be featured at Saint Joseph’s Univerty Gallery from Tuesday, Jan. 20 to Friday, Feb. 13. An artist’s reception will be held Friday, Jan. 23, from 6-8 p.m.

Freese has photographed the geological swath that follows the San Andreas Fault – which is prone to earthquakes and rumblings from volcanoes – with a somewhat different approach and style.

“I have chosen to print photographs of vast vistas in a small, intimate scale,” says Freese. “This forces the viewer to look very closely, and paradoxically, to notice even more. The small vistas are complemented by larger panoramic images that allow the viewer to ‘step back’ for the long view.”

“Freese captivates audiences by making his mountainscapes majestic and the seascapes romantic,” says Associate Gallery Director Jeanne Bracy. “He carefully captures the direction in which the ocean’s waves are moving or the clouds are sailing so that the viewer's eye is drawn into the photograph to explore minute details of the landscapes. The lack of color allows the viewer to focus on the simplicity and subtle shapes of the landscapes.”

Freese says that he has always been fascinated with the varying tones produced by early printing processes, but he feels that today’s computer technology provides a way to expand “to a wider range of muted hues, and to do so with more control.”

Photography of the two extremes – from Alaska’s Aleutian Islands to the southern-most tip of the Baja Peninsula – is 75 percent complete, according to Freese. His final goal is to produce a book of the photographs. British author Simon Winchester has agreed to write a text on the geological history and future of the coast.

Freese is a professional assignment photographer for many corporate, industrial and editorial clients whose work has been exhibited, published and collected internationally. He is a resident of Philadelphia, Pa., and currently teaches at Temple University, and at Burlington County College in New Jersey, where he has won teaching awards. He is president of the Derek Freese Film Foundation, which he established in his son’s memory.

The Saint Joseph's University Gallery is located in Boland Hall on Lapsley Lane, off of City Avenue between 54th Street and Cardinal Avenue in Lower Merion. Hours are Monday through Friday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, call 610-660-1840, or visit

Media Contact

Patricia Allen, Associate Director of University Communications, 610-660-3240,

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