One of the best books is Oasis of Stone: Visions of Baja California



 Miguel Ángel de la Cueva International League of Conservation Photographers

In our daily lives we have traded the marvelous for the commercial – the world’s eloquence for mere comfort – and fail to understand the source of our alienation, our sadness. As a photographer, my mission is to help break through the artificial world that we have all helped to create. My journey first began at age 16 when I encountered the Sonoran Desert while traveling by car in Arizona. I remember with crystal clarity the dramatic and eroded landscape, along with my own need to become that elemental distance. It was years later, in 1995, that I reached the Baja California Peninsula and found myself face-to-face with the majestic Sierra la Giganta. Following its contours that disappeared into the Gulf of California, I felt awestruck and sensed the need to share the force and beauty of this vision.

My Baja California discovery was a renewal, a compulsion to explore every detail of the land’s features, to penetrate the secrets jealously kept by its drought and isolation. The desert can be intimidating – a sensation I needed to overcome. The process required long immersions to know this bare land, to feel wholly comfortable with it and then to begin the great experience of exploration and of constant marvelous encounters. The desert’s surprises are extravagant and embrace the miracle of life itself. Its austerity seems as necessary as silence. Its rugged forms remind us that its history is more ancient than our own, thus demanding an understanding and total respect for the lives of its inhabitants.

Almost 50% of this beautiful peninsula’s southern state has been given biosphere reserve or national park status. Nevertheless, it faces a barrage of threats from coastal commercial mega-developments and housing developments to new mining projects. Such disruptions could redesign the shape of thousands of years of untouched landscape and compromise valuable resources like fresh water. It is my mission to create a new awareness, an urgency to choose which landscape will greet generations to come.

This is the foreword of my first book, Oasis of Stone, Visions of Baja California Sur, published in 2006 by Sunbelt Publications and Planeta Peninsula. (The latter is a non-governmental organization [NGO] I founded in 2005 to promote Baja California Peninsula’s natural and cultural heritage.) This book, which originally failed to obtain local financing due to its environmental and non-tourist, non-commercial approach, received the 2006 ExpoBook America silver Book of the Year Award in the “Nature” category. It also became Earth magazine’s “Pick of the Year 2007” and Planeta.com’s 1st prize winner in the “Mexico” category.

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Oasis of Stone: Visions of Baja California Sur

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