Twin Falls is accessed by two interstate off-ramps spaced thirteen miles apart. One will take you to the scenic wonder after which the town was named; the other leads to the Herrett Center, where until March 26, 51 photgraphs by the old master will be on display at the Jean B. King Gallery. Admission is free, so there’s really no good excuse for staying away.
Highlight of opening night was the surprise appearance of Randy Hansen, whom I hadn’t seen nor heard from since we two shared a tiny dormitory room on the campus of Brigham Young University. In one hand Randy held a copy of my recent autobiography, in which I identify him as “Mister Famous Idaho Potatohead From Caldwell.” I count myself fortunate that Randy has a good sense of humor, and was accompanied by his lovely wife Annette—not by a lawyer!
A second old friend in attendance was fellow photographer Mark Citret from San Francisco. Like his onetime mentor Ansel Adams, Mark is known for his exquisite black and white work, although Mark’s prints differ in that his zone system includes not just ten but fifty shades of gray. Moreover, Mark is drawn not to majestic landscapes but to things people don’t normally take pictures of, such as restaurant silverware and motel room interiors. One of his favorite subjects is Scott Shady Court in Winnemucca.
Following the opening reception, Mark and I spent two days photographing rural Idaho. For me, it was a rare opportunity to watch a genius at work. Normal tourists are always asking, “When are we going to get there?’ When you travel with Mark, the question is, “Why are we stopping?”
While Mark was busy photographing a chrome drinking fountain that reminded him of a chambered nautilus, I noticed a rest stop utility shed that reminded me a bit of the little house on the prairie. Investigating further, we discovered a stenciling on one side of the building that may or may not be the work of Banksy.
In other words, we had a great time. Normally I prefer to travel alone, at my own snail’s pace. However, with Mark, I have learned to move even slower. I’ve learned to take a closer look at just about everything I see because—as Mark puts it—“pictures are everywhere.”