Matt Inden Photography, Lionshead |

Matt Inden Photography, Lionshead

Melanie Wong
Dominique Taylor/dtaylor@vaildaily.comMatt Inden sits in his Lionshead gallery, surrounded by his work.

Walk into Matt Inden’s gallery, and you get a glimpse of where he’s been: surrounded by endless sand dunes; nestled beneath majestic, reaching pine trees; across the way from a sheer rock face, just waiting for the moon to rise. Or, to put it more simply, he’s been in Colorado. The photographer divides his time between trekking in and out of spots both remote and accessible, and working in his new Lionshead gallery.

“It is amazing what powerful ideas and emotions nature can invoke,” he muses. “There are those magical places that always seem to hold you in your tracks a little longer than usual – be it your first time there or your twentieth. To me, these are the places that inspire and that I feel must be preserved.”

Earlier this season, with the temperature barely breaking the double digits on Vail Pass, Inden was tromping around in knee-deep powder in search of something.

By the look of his 40-pound backpack and weatherproof mountain wear, he might have been headed out for some winter mountaineering or maybe a backcountry trip. But for the Vail landscape photographer, it was just another day at the office.

He stopped abruptly and dropped to his knees, thoughtfully inspecting the snow in front of him. The object of his interest was a lonely clump of branches sticking about six inches out of the snow. Upon closer inspection, the branches were bearing the most miniature pinecones, entirely covered in sparkling ice crystals.

“They kind of look like antlers,” Inden says.

As the brightening sun hit the icy plain around him, the entire meadow appeared to be covered with haphazardly strewn diamonds. A close-up of these branches with the snow in the foreground, he decided, would be his shot.

It is this kind of eye for detail and thoughtfulness that marks Inden’s photography – anyone else might not have given the meadow a second glance, focusing instead on the surrounding peaks. They might have even stepped on the branches.

In the age of digital, Inden works with rather unconventional equipment – a Deardorf large-format camera circa the 1950s that shoots negatives 8×10 inches huge.

Think of the kind of camera you see in old movies, where the photographer has his head under a black blanket, and you have an idea. Because the film is so large, an 8×10 camera can create images of extremely high quality, so much so that it looks more like what you might see with the naked eye. You feel like you could reach out to feel the roughness of grains of sand or the bark of an aspen tree.

“People say, ‘I took a photo, but it doesn’t look anything like I saw it,'” Inden says. “Well, the idea behind the large-format camera is that the quality can be so good that you feel like you can walk into the photo.”

And you can bring that photo home.

Matt Inden Photography

531 Lionshead Arcade Suite 14

Lionshead | 302.893.0703

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