Balinese figure, Wolf Gap Garden

The gardens around my goldfish pond contain different arrangements of space and light. Walkways and brick patios link one garden room to another, and each to the cedar-and-stone buildings that compose the architectures of our home. A shaded area enclosed by a bamboo grove, shale walls, and cedar fence made from trees felled by a snowstorm holds a stone pathway lined in shaggy mondo grass, Oriental pine trees pruned to a cloud shape, rocks, ferns and moss, prayer tablets from Tibet, and small, unobtrusive statuary I obtained in Bali, Nepal, and Thailand. I purchased a large figurine — a fat-bellied…


Wolf Gap garden (detail)

I’ve been absent from Medium for the past 14 months. During much of that time I’ve been traveling and engaged in various international photo and writing projects. I returned home to Wolf Gap from India a few days prior to the advancing Coronovirus wave, and like so many others I am now practicing social distancing and staying at home as much as possible. Unlike many others, though, I have a delightful place to hunker down. I am blessed in that way. My return to Medium was prompted in part by my interest in exploring ways in which our lives can…


Wolf Gap forest

If there is no single model of a natural life, then what standards can be applied to a life that is designed with nature and at a proper scale? Jennifer and I try to live a thoughtful life in Wolf Gap, and that desire extends to the land we cultivate, which isn’t much really — certainly not enough to live anything close to a self-sufficient life. We grow some organic vegetables and fruit, tend the gardens, and tinker around in the woods. But what does that effort mean? Mainly, it gives us a chance to learn about the natural world…


New Book

My photography book about the painted towns in Shekhawati (Rajasthan), India has been released (Goff Books). Here is what a few reviewers have to say:

“In this book David Zurick does what I wish more photographers would do — he describes how, and into what mood, he was approaching what he came to photograph. What I like most about A Fantastic State of Ruin is the meditative calm it radiates. A superb book. An invitation to visualize timelessness.” — Hans Durrer, F Stop Magazine.

“Here is a rare and original testimony to a fascinating world that few of us know…


Jungle, Rarotonga

A cross-island trail begins on the island of Rarotonga near the town of Avarua, on the northern coast, and ends at the Papua waterfall on the south coast. It’s a popular hike for adventurous tourists, but few natives bother using the trail since the coastal road makes travel so much easier. The hiking route leads through small patches of undistinguished forest; the true rainforest, hugging the damp cloudy sides of the most precipitous peaks, is almost impossible to reach, which explains why it is still there. Although Rarotonga’s cloud forest covers only three percent of the island, its biological significance…


Map of the Sacred Road, Shangri La County, China (eastern Tibet)

The 5,600-meter Jade-Dragon-Snow-Mountain towers above the Map of
the Sacred Road in Yunnan Province, China. Painted in Tibetan motifs with comic-book colors and flanked by carved totems in the style of Native Alaskans, the road is a bizarre feature in the landscape of China’s newly-manufactured Shangri La. I climbed to its end point, where I enjoyed a spectacular view of the holy mountain. Later I learned I had walked a funerary path, that the Map of the Sacred Road is actually an ancient Naxi religious banner that was once displayed on the hillside during temple festivals. …


Civil Rights, Birmingham, Alabama

The dominant feature in Birmingham’s Kelly Ingram Park is a sculpture of a young black man under attack by a white policeman and a police dog. The sculpture, “Footsoldier Tribute,” by artist James Drake, is located north of Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, where a Ku Klux Klan bomb killed four African-American girls on September 15, 1963, as they were preparing for Sunday worship. The sculpture captures the terror of that event and of the following civil rights demonstrations, when peaceful marchers were assaulted with water cannons and canines by Bull Conner’s police force. I made this image with stark contradictions…


Bradley’s Lockshop, Savannah

A place doesn’t need to be a monument to be a landmark. When I lost a key to my truck in Savannah, Georgia and asked a townsman for directions to the closest hardware store, he pointed me to Bradley’s Lockshop. I entered the store through a glass door and stepped into a room that looked as though it had been pulled from the pages of a pre-World War I mail-order catalog. Antique furnishes, vintage clocks, and trophy animals filled the place from bottom to top. People came and went as I pondered the selection of keys on the wall. A…


Wolf Gap Road

A late season storm dropped wet snow on Wolf Gap Holler, felling trees in the forest, downing power lines, and closing roads. The weight of the snow settling onto the pines and cedars broke them at the trunks or caused them to bend in great arcs that spanned the woodland trails, driveways, and road out of the valley. I lay awake much of the night of the storm, listening to the groans and explosions made by the tortured trees in the woods, waiting for one to crash down upon my house. I awoke to a scene of beauty and devastation…

David Zurick

Picture Pilgrim

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