January/February Artist — Matt Strauser
The “Ascent 2010” photo gallery represents five recent trips to three mountains: Mt. McKinley, Mt. Hood, and Mt. Washington.
It is my desire to share through these photos a glimpse into the beauty and challenge of climbing the Western mountains. I hope that seeing the images will allow you to feel the alpine air, marvel at the deep-blue sky, and understand the satisfaction of these topographic travels.
It is no surprise that these dramatic land forms would cause us to marvel at the Creator. After all, it is He who chose to so shape the earth.
In June of 2007 I traveled with six other climbers on Mt. McKinley in Alaska.
In June 2008 my son Paul and I climbed Mt. Hood.
Last summer, June 2009, my daughter Kara, her friend Lacey, Corban’s Dr. John Wilson, and I climbed Mt. Hood.
In September, the Corban mountaineering class hiked on Mt. Hood up to the Illumination Rock saddle overlooking the Zigzag and Reid Glaciers. Class members included Eli Conlee, Jeffrey Schloemer, Daniel Shipley, Jason Williams, and Bonnie Zlatnik. My wife Naomi and son Paul accompanied us on the Illumination Rock hike.
A few weeks later the mountaineering class climbed Mt. Washington. My daughter Alethea accompanied us and summited Mt. Washington — her second time to the top.
The exhibitor: Dr. Matthew L. Strauser
Many people have had a great impact on my life. As a matter of fact, most of my important life decisions were based on the influence of others. This includes my love of photography.
When I was in high school my uncle gave me a subscription to National Geographic. Those vivid and artistic images stirred me to pursue photography.
My photographic journey began when my grandmother bought me an Olympus Trip 35 snapshot camera. My early photos were almost all of family. The urge to capture the outdoors on film was soon to come.
A friend returned from a trip to the Tetons where he took a climbing class. I had been thinking about climbing and his stories intensified my desire to go west. My camera went with me.
My interest in science, music, and adventure go back as far as I can recollect. I remember in elementary school trying to build lasers and motors. I tried to figure out how music notation works. I was always swinging from ropes in the barn (I have scars to prove it), jumping off rocks in the creek, trying to build scuba gear out of stove pipe and a tire-pump hose, or thinking that I could jump off the chicken-house roof if only I practiced enough! I also built wings out of pine sticks and cardboard — no, I did not jump out of the barn loft; but I did try my wings out by running down the barnyard hill into the creek.
My varied interests found a friend in outdoor photography which combined the aesthetics of music, the descriptive demands of natural science, and the challenges of physical adventure.
My first mountain adventure was a winter trip to Colorado during my freshman year in college. Since then I have climbed mountains in Wyoming, Montana, Oregon, Washington, California, Nevada, and Alaska.
I am on my fourth “real” camera since that first Olympus (followed by film cameras OM1, OM2, Canon Rebel, and now my first digital SLR: a Canon 30D).
I hope that you find these photos to be pleasing. My scientific interests sometimes overpower the aesthetic. This comes out in a desire to document, describe, and depict through images. So perhaps I should say that I hope you find these photos “interesting and informative.”
If I am captivated by the beauty and science of nature, then why do so many of the photos contain people? For me, the answer is simple: I need to share the experiences and adventures with others. I love working as a team, relying upon the training and skills of others — complementing our weaknesses and building on our strengths. A trip into the mountains may last a few hours or a few weeks, but the joyful sharing of the experience is for a lifetime. Even the “hard” trips turn into powerful memories and stories.
I praise God as the Creator of our world. I am thankful that He has graciously allowed me to explore it. I realize that the time, expense, and effort required to capture these photographic images are gifts from God. Good art, as in good science, always directs our thoughts toward the Maker. In the following verses we see that this is by God’s plan:
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known of God is revealed in them, for God revealed it to them. For the invisible things of Him since the creation of the world are clearly seen, being perceived through the things that are made, even His everlasting power and divinity; that they may be without excuse.
Romans 1:18–20, World English Bible
Dr. Matthew L. Strauser is Director of Choral Activities & Music Education at Corban. He also directs worship at Keizer Community Church. At Corban he also teaches rock climbing, mountaineering, and cross-country skiing. He holds bachelor degrees in geology and music education from the University of Montana in Missoula, a master’s in New Testament biblical studies from Wheaton College Graduate School in Wheaton, Ill., and a doctorate in musical arts from the University of Oregon in Eugene. He and his wife Naomi live in Salem, have four children and have one grandson.
Psalm Visual Arts Gallery Archive (2012-2013 school year):