Nora Scarlett, a serious studio photographer whose portfolio includes work as a photo spotter for the great Irving Penn — not to mention major advertising agency assignments on campaigns for such high-ticket clients as American Express, the Gap, Reebok, Kodak, IBM, Hershey’s and Seagram’s — has been based in New Paltz since 1998, now retired and living in a house in the woods bordering the Mohonk Preserve. While on a hike on the Shawangunk Ridge, she writes, “I was captivated by a tree that appeared to be kissing a boulder.” That was the inspiration for Scarlett’s first serious departure from studio work: a series of large-format photos that she called “Trunks of the Gunks,” first exhibited at the Unison Arts Center gallery in April 2012.
The expanded collection was published in book form by Catskill-based publisher Black Dome Press in 2016. In 2018, a portfolio of Scarlett’s images was featured in Pulitzer Prizewinning historian Carleton Mabee’s book Saving the Shawangunks, which spawned a new collection of images. Titled Ledge Lake Leaf Labyrinth: An Uncommon Portrait of the Shawangunk Mountains, the follow-up volume of photographs was released last month by Black Dome.
“Scarlett presents us with many of the better-known natural features of the ‘Gunks,’ as the range is affectionately known, including its famous sky lakes and its world-renowned rock-climbing cliffs. But she also focuses on the remote and wild backcountry: the little-known waterfalls in the Mine Hole Hollow, the serene beauty of Rock Pond, the quiet woods near the Saunderskill stream,” writes Robert K. Anderberg, senior vice president and general counsel for the Open Space Institute, in his foreword to Ledge Lake Leaf Labyrinth. “For casual and serious wanderers of the Shawangunk Ridge alike, this book is an essential and enjoyable addition to the lexicon.”
Printed in hardcover format, Ledge Lake Leaf Labyrinth includes 188 full-color photographs on 168 pages. It’s available for $35 from local booksellers or can be ordered directly from Black Dome at (518) 577-5238 or https://shop.blackdomepress.com. To view more samples of Nora Scarlett’s work, visit www.norascarlett.com.