Natural Selection Examining the photography of the late Steven Hargrove.

By Michael Yockel



More than anything, Steven Hargrove loved the natural world. At 13, he spent two months discovering the summertime forests, meadows and lakes of the Adirondack Mountains. “It forever opened my eyes and heart to the immense beauty of the wilderness,” he wrote on his website.

And so, not surprisingly, as a photographer he explored the infinite complexities and simplicities of the outdoors in compelling compositions that brimmed with insight and imagination: Brilliant foliage in blurry splendor. Plus-size lily pads that glow with a prehistoric verdancy. Sliced agate that suggests an embryo.

Hargrove died in January at 61. Art and culture helped define his life: He wrote poetry, played in two bands and worked as a librarian. But he best expressed himself the way he interpreted the world—through photography.

“I have noted a tendency for me to be drawn to photograph tiny moments, brief interludes, things which are impermanent or hardly noticeable,” he wrote. “Often, it is the little, rather than the large, that captivates me.”

That explains his fascination with an eye-popping green leaf trapped on a gray-and-brown streambed or an owl butterfly wing that could pass for an image sent back by the Hubble Space Telescope.

“Steven captured the quiet beauty surrounding us that we are usually too busy to see,” notes his friend and fellow photographer Karen Klinedinst. “He was a careful observer of light, color and form. His images are both magical and meditative. The mystery is part of the appeal.”

>> See more of Steven Hargrove’s work at stevenhargrovephotography.com

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