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 Nikon D810 and four primary lenses; a 14-24mm F2.8, a 24-70mm 2.8, 70-200 and a 150-600. 

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 via my websites. I also have three mini-galleries in other locations: Grand Lake, Colorado, at the Trail Ridge Store in Rocky Mountain National Park and also outside of Abiquiu, New Mexico where I show my Desert Southwest work. Over the years my work has been sold in numerous galleries and has been displayed in the rotunda of the State Capitol. Denver's newest five star hotel, "The Four Seasons" has purchased my work for all of its rooms as have numerous hospitals, offices and homes. My work is regularly featured in popular magazines. In 2007 I released my first book which has since sold thousands of copies. I also have two popular e-books and in September of 2014 I released a large hard cover book on Rocky Mountain National Park which celebrate's its 100th Anniversary.