We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.


Kenneth Parker’s large landscapes at the Ralls Collection could lead viewers to wonder whether photographers of late are all chasing the same pretty scenery. Given that landscape photographers have been crisscrossing the globe now for more than a century and a half, one might hope that more lensmen and -women would gravitate to less thoroughly trod subjects. Still, if Parker’s work is not unique, it is unquestionably skillful. From his base in Carmel-by-the-Sea, Calif., Parker takes five- to 10-day backpacking trips through wilderness areas of the United States, South America, and Asia, typically exposing just a handful of large-format color images along the way. His early-career work as a field assistant to Eliot Porter—the first major nature photographer to work in color—is clearly evident in the exhibition, in a pair of time-lapse images of “frozen” waterfalls as well as in the placid and breathtakingly intricate assemblage of leaves in Gambel Oaks & Wall. The photographer’s depictions of lush rice-growing terraces, sinuously windswept red rocks, and modest flowers clinging to dramatic stone outcroppings are impressive, but the show-stealers are the pieces in which Parker stumbles onto a wholly unexpected color palette. These include the chalky blue coating blanketing the sheer red-rock walls in Blue Varnish Wall (pictured) and Arrowhead Pool, Seep, and Cottonwood; the strips of crimson peeking out from beneath peeled tree bark in Rainbow Eucalyptus and Ardisia; and the patchwork of beige, ochre, and olive salt pools in Salt Pan Terraces. Also on view: “Impulse,” 16 gaily colored landscape abstractions by painter Arlette Shleifer. The show is on view from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays, to Saturday, April 24, at the Ralls Collection, 1516 31st St. NW. Free. (202) 342-1754. (Louis Jacobson)