More than 40 years ago, British Columbia photographer Art Twomey stumbled across a narrow crack in the desert floor in northern Arizona. It was a slot canyon, a stone crevasse – narrow, carved by water, its interior lost in shadow when seen by a curious person peering in from the rim.
Twomey’s photos from that day were unlike anything he had ever put on emulsion. They pictured a dream world, an intricate underground fantasy where lines bent, topsy met turvy, upside was down, inside was out. The images made as much sense backwards as forwards, which is to say they made no sense at all.
For over a decade, Twomey, Morrow and Schmidt spent spring and fall seasons hauling their cameras through the wildest, most intricately carved slot canyons they could find. At the time, slots were virtually unknown, their exquisite beauties not yet appreciated. There were no guidebooks, no guided tours, no high-resolution satellite images to work from. A big part of the pleasure was a sense of discovery, of finding places no one knew.