(Photo credit: Anil Rao, Stardust)

It’s easy to forget that sand used to be glass, relatively speaking. When you do stand back and observe an entire span of land once held together in an absolute concrete fashion but now slips easily between your toes, the largeness of human fragility is astonishing. Photographer Anil Rao wrestles with just these notions as he surveys the Western landscape.

He writes:

In my forays into some of the lesser known sections of the [Colorado] plateau, I have often wondered about the complex processes responsible for shaping this strangely beautiful landscape. I have also found it impossible not to become aware of the enormous passage of time, which by comparison makes the entire scale of human existence seem insignificant. Fueled by a strong desire to further explore the emotions I was experiencing, I soon became immersed in a personal photographic project called Desert Dreams.

The images in this collection are aimed to look beyond the superficial and offer an interpretation of the mysterious and timeless quality of the desert. They also serve as a representation of my efforts at understanding the natural world and our place in it. Stardust was photographed in May 2008 at Coal Mine Canyon in northeastern Arizona. In the stillness and silence of that remote location I discovered clues that might help answer some of the questions I struggle with.

More of Anil’s work can be seen at www.anilraophotography.com