Review - "As a resident of the suburban canyon system that borders the northern and northwest fringes of Los Angeles, I’m partial to this spectacular collection. It’s a visual and literary tribute to an important, but little known feature of this gigantic sprawl of a city. Range on the Edge gives us a rare and beautiful photographic portrait, and historical profile, of the rural Santa Monica Mountains. Lofty, undulating and wild, carpeted with tinder-dry chaparral scrub forest, the Santa Monicas and the arroyos that intersect them have a stern, but delicate beauty that requires the patience and sensitivity of a naturalist and photographer like Tom Gamache to capture. Fire is the natural centerpiece in the life cycle of this rare plant community, and every couple of years, large tracts burn off in spectacular, newsworthy conflagrations that illuminate night skies above this tangle of freeways and skyscrapers and neighborhoods, from Hollywood to the shores of coastal Malibu. Deep inside the natural infrastructure of the Santa Monicas, Gamache reveals a complex biosphere of rare serenity—sweeps of riparian meadowland, thick stands of oak and sycamore that filter shafts of morning light, and massive, prehistoric rock faces, whose heights disappear into low afternoon shrouds of ocean mist. This is the realm of coyotes and bobcats, mule deer, rabbits, squirrels, the titmouse and the red-tailed hawk. They are the true native Angelenos, occupants of an enormous natural resource, still known mostly to the rest of the world as home to the Hollywood Sign."
Summary - "The Santa Monica Mountains" is an ambitious book, as sprawling, quirky and varied as the range itself. More than a coffee table book and just short of a travel guide, it's nothing less than a love letter to the wild heart of Los Angeles. Rock and water, fen and glen, red-tailed hawks vying for a meal, every imaginable kind of light — Gamache's lens captures it all. In a particularly stunning shot — at dawn or dusk, it's hard to tell — your eye takes in a steeply tilted landscape. There's the gnarled old tree, a frizz of short, dry grass, then the sudden shock of seeing a coyote calmly staring into the lens, into your eyes, bold and not at all afraid.”
The Santa Monicas are undeniably a range on the edge of the world, welcoming the Pacific into its rocky ridges, almost daring the ocean waves to break at its foothills. The mountains are dotted with mountain lions, bobcats and mule deer, rock singers, movie stars and writers, lilies, oaks and steelhead trout, bikers, hikers and grizzled peaks that seem to kiss the sky.
Along the course of its forty-six-mile span, the range encompasses Dodger Stadium, Griffith Park, Laurel and Coldwater canyons, Hollywood, the Hollywood Sign, Beverly Hills, the Getty Museum, Pacific Palisades and Malibu, to name only a few points of iconic interest. And these are mountains that have gone uncelebrated, until now in The Santa Monica Mountains: Range on the Edge, a com-pelling history and commentary by award-winning writer Matthew Jaffe, punctuated with 140 breathtaking photographic pictures captured by renowned landscape art photographer Tom Gamache.
This is the definitive biography lovers of the Santa Monica Mountains have been waiting for, the story of a magnificent range on the edge of America's edgiest city. Available through Angel City Press and Barnes & Noble.
All rights reserved. ©2005 Tom Gamache Photography.
All images are the property of Tom Gamache Photography and may not be reproduced without express written permission.