During the month of August, Viewpoint Gallery presents Images of Indian Valley—Photographs by Erik Weber in the Step Up Gallery.
Erik Weber is a documentary photographer, or as he prefers to call himself, a "visual historian". After living most of his life in San Francisco, he moved to Indian Valley, a remote, secluded part of Plumas County, California, where logging, ranching, mining and farming has been the way of life from the time the valley was settled in the 1850s to the present. Minimally touched by outside influences, it offered Weber an opportunity to make images of a way of life much different from the one he had known.
Weber spent the first years in Indian Valley learning how to live in the mountains with few city conveniences and getting to know the local customs, folks and critters. With so much to photograph, and knowing the limits of his visual energy, he decided to to confine his photography to Indian Valley. He felt it was important to document what he found here before it disappeared.
He goes into a photographic situation without preconceived ideas and spends time observing before photographing, then switches into instinctive mode, a place of no thinking, just responding. Over time he have come to trust his instincts and let them take over. Reviewing the day's work he again trusts his instincts to choose the images that elicit an emotional response as well as tell the story.
At the same time as documenting various aspects of ranch and valley life, Weber has been making portraits and recording a short history of the Indian Valley elders. These elders, some of them descendants of the early white settlers or indigenous Maidu, all walked the bridge from the past to present day Indian Valley.
Erik Weber: Smoke and Barn
Erik Weber: Monty's Crew
Erik Weber: Lulu
Erik Weber: Branding
Erik Weber: Robert and Cloe