Picks and Pans Review: Uncommon Places

updated 12/09/1991 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 12/09/1991 AT 01:00 AM EST

by David Muench

For most of his career, landscape photographer David Muench has focused on the American West. His 45 books have such titles as Colorado, Big Sur and Louis L'Amour's Frontier; only three of his 14 one-man shows were held in the eastern time zone.

Now he has turned his lens on the Appalachian Trail, the 2,144-mile hiking path that runs from Georgia to Maine through some of the most beautiful scenery the Atlantic seaboard has to offer. Muench, 55, traveled for six months capturing the lush beauty and mystery of the trail with all the reverence of an Ansel Adams, the color sensitivity of an Eliot Porter—and the deep appreciation for the land of his own father, Joseph Muench, a leading photographer of the respected Arizona Highways magazine.

Many of Muench's pictures—all are in color—have startling, detailed foregrounds that lead the eye into a second zone of interest. Thus, scrawny maple and sumac trees, red with autumn, contrast sharply with the white foam of a New Hampshire river.

Muench devotes little time to wildlife. The only "animal" in the book is a white moth on some dried-out oak leaves in Maryland. For perspective Muench does include an occasional human. Often that human is his son Marc, 25, the third-generation photographer of the Muench clan and a harbinger of many more fine books like this to come. (Appalachian Trail Conference, $39.95)

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