Self-taught photographer Laura Gilpin (1891-1979) was born in Austin Bluffs, Colorado and as a child discovered the magic of nature, exploring the nearby Rocky Mountains with great passion.
Her parents bought her a Brownie camera and developing tank in 1903 and by 1909 she was experimenting with autochromes, a new color process developed in France.
"Much earnest philosophical thought is born of the life which springs from close association with nature," she said and often camped outside to capture the ideal soft, romantic light needed for her images.
"I am willing to drive many miles, expose a lot of film, wait untold hours, camp out to be somewhere at sunrise, make many return trips to get what I am after."
Acclaimed for her compassionate portraits of Navajo and Pueblo Indians and breathtaking Southwestern landscapes, Gilpin first began photographing Native Americans when her car ran out of gas on a Navajo reservation in 1930.
Deeply impressed with the Navajo spirit, she became a frequent visitor to the reservation and successfully captured a lasting documentation of the land and people she found.
"Design," she said, "is the fundamental of everything."
More PHOTOGRAPHY Quotations
From nature comes great magic.