Here, two childhood friends, see each other after a long time. Henry told me in an interview that he studied photography because of Arthur's suggestion. Henry eventually became a film director and producer.
by C. Edward Wall
Always stretching the boundaries of his work, Arthur Secunda began experimenting in the late 1980s with crushed monoprints. He found that if he cranked down the rollers on an etching press, paper would build up and wrinkle under the rollers. Painting a plate and printing it once with rollers properly adjusted so the paper would not wrinkle, Secunda would then readjust the rollers to intentionally wrinkle the work, which he would print again in its wrinkled state. When the print was dry, he would stretch the work, opening up the wrinkles to expose portions of the image that were printed initially but were not printed during the second pass. The resulting monoprints revealed texture, stratification, and rich coloration closely reflecting the beauty and serendipity found in nature.
Taking a break from his studio, Secunda and his photographer friend, Eric Lawton, made a trip to photograph the cliff dwellings at Camp Verde, Arizona. As Secunda was studying the resulting photographs, he was struck by the texture and linear quality of one of the images, recalling that the elements closely resembled those in one of his monoprints. Superimposing the photograph on the monoprint, the works merged perfectly, resulting in a very special collage.
Secunda was inspired by the collage to create a suite of three powerful prints, which reflect beliefs inherent to the Enlightenment, the ideals of democracy, and the very essence of Native American cultures - that to "live well" on earth, humankind must vigilantly strive to establish, maintain, and protect the lofty and often elusive values of freedom and justice as well as that "special spirit," which causes humankind, in the first place, to think, to reason, and, subsequently, to choose pursuit of goodness and high values.
The central image in each print is a collaged photograph of a cliff dwelling at Camp Verde. Those who occupied these dwellings were agricultural peoples. They lived high on the cliff, literally sheltered from sustained attack. Yet these peoples disappeared without apparent reason; to this day, their disappearance is one of the great mysteries in American archeology. In this context, To Live in High Places also is a seminal reminder of the importance of seeking understanding and implementing practices requisite to preserving the life-sustaining capacity of Earth.