Artist Statement

Erik Stensland

Photography is a way for me to communicate my deepest feelings about our natural world. To me, nature is more than a random collection of mineral elements and organic growth; it is a story which tells us who we are. Today people flock to the mountains, deserts and oceans to connect with a deep longing and desire that they feel in the presence of untamed nature, a yearning that is hard to put into words, an almost spiritual connection with these wild places. One of the connecting threads behind these feelings is the concept of beauty, yet for many artists beauty is passé. Pablo Picasso was once asked what he thought of beauty. He responded, “To me it is a word without sense because I do not know where its meaning comes from nor where it leads to.” Unlike Picasso, I believe that beauty holds a message and my photography is an attempt to explore the deep voice of beauty. As Dostoyevsky once wrote, "Beauty is a riddle."

My work is characterized by vibrant natural colors which are typically found at sunrise or sunset. Having spent over a decade in post-communist Europe where much was very gray, I returned to the United States with a deep hunger for color and so I’ve made that a key element of my photography. I believe that it gives my images a vibrant and hopeful feel which can speak into our mundane and often pain-filled lives.

My primary area of focus is Rocky Mountain National Park. I’ve spent over a decade exploring its 415 sq. miles, building the most extensive collection of fine art photographs of the park. Beyond Rocky, I’m actively building collections in the Desert Southwest, the Pacific Northwest and the United Kingdom.

These days I am shooting with the Fuji GFX 100s, the Nikon Z7 and five lenses; a 100-200mm F/5.6, a 23mm F/4, a 32-64mm F/4, a 70-200mm F/4, and a 150-600mm F/5.6.

    I typically display my work in a plaque mounted format in which the print is protected by a thin UV protective laminate sheet and then mounted to a hard surface. This not only protects the image, but allows it to have an almost three-dimensional feel which brings the images to life.

    At the moment I sell my work primarily through my own gallery in Estes Park as well as through my websites. I also have a mini-gallery outside of Abiquiu, New Mexico where I show my Desert Southwest work. Over the years my work has been spread widely across the country. Thousands of people have my photos on display in their homes, offices, hospitals and hotels. You'll even find it in places like the rooms of Denver's Four Seasons hotel, the Ritz Carlton in Aspen, The Gaylord Hotel, on a Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines ship, etc.. You will also find my work regularly featured in popular magazines and ads. Lately I've also focused more on self-publish books, cards, calendars and other products. To date, I've released 7 books with others in process.