Backcountry Mystic

The images float before the viewer’s eyes, strange and otherworldly — like photos of the Crab Nebula from Hubble, or mixings from a hippie light show. They might be satellite shots of the Mojave, cell-section studies from an electron microscope, or hallucinatory paintings from a would be Jackson Pollock. In fact, they are nature photographs made by Tom Murphy, taken largely in Yellowstone National Park and often of objects measuring no more than 10 inches square. He calls them abstracts. “In a lot of ways I don’t care what scale they are. I’m looking at graphics. I’m looking at the shapes and colors and textures.” Murphy sits not by his “silly blue tarp,” beneath which he was photographed snow camping in the PBS film “Christmas in Yellowstone,” but before his computer in a warm studio on a crisp December day…..

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