Photographer Harun Mehmedinovic in Death Valley National Park

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PHOTOGRAPHER HARUN MEHMEDINOVIC IN DEATH VALLEY NATIONAL PARK
In November 2019, the National Parks Arts Foundation hosted Arizona based videographer Harun Mehmedinovic in Stovepipe Wells, Death Valley. He is one of the world’s top twilight and night sky videographers, and through this unique residency, he spent a month working at various locations around the wide-ranging park complex.

Mehmedinovic is a graduate of the film and video program of the University of Southern California and holds a master’s degree from the American Film Institute. He has often shot in Death Valley and the Mojave. The origin of SKYGLOW, his ongoing feature documentary project to film the night skies of the world, owes its beginnings to his early explorations of Death Valley National Park. Says Harun: “In 2012, Death Valley was the first National Park where we began photographing the night sky, and we have continued to do so ever since, trying to gather footage from all parts of the park.” The SKYGLOW project functions on two levels — to showcase the amazing beauty of the night sky through high-definition time-lapse videography, and also to raise awareness of the encroaching light pollution on natural areas globally, and show how different parks are combating this problem.

The title SkyGlow refers both to the human electric footprint on the night sky as well as the natural darkness and stellar phenomena. “Since 2012, we have visited over 100 National Parks, National Monuments, Preserves and other areas to capture light pollution impacts on those areas, the state of their night skies, and to capture what parks have been doing to protect their night skies,” adds Harun.

In addition, Harun is the cinematographer and co-producer on “Ice on Fire,” a Leonardo DiCaprio-produced feature documentary for HBO which premiered in the Official Selection at Cannes Film Festival 2019, and a co-cinematographer on Akicita, a documentary film which premiered at Sundance Film Festival in January 2018.

He is a regular video and photography contributor to BBC Earth and has contributed photographs and videos to Vogue Italia, National Geographic, Astronomy Magazine, BBC Travel, Discovery Science, and Blindfold Magazine. Harun’s photography work has been featured by various media outlets, including The New York Times, Wired, Time, Forbes, NPR, CNN, Gizmodo, Slate, Los Angeles Times, LA Weekly, Vice, and The Washington Post. The SkyGlow project has also been the subject of a TEDx Talk.

Harun is the author of three books, portrait series Seance and Persona, as well as the Astrophotography Book and Timelapse Series: SKYGLOW. His videos have been used at various events, most notably by the Rolling Stones on their ZIP CODE tour & 2016 Tour, Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters 2016 Tour, Desert Trip Concert, Paul Simon’s 2018 Farewell Tour, and Cosmic Gate music video “am2pm,” and National Park Service’s “100 Years” centennial video; among others. You can keep up with Harun’s work at https://skyglowproject.com/

Stovepipe Wells is centrally located in the heart of Death Valley, and across from the legendary dunes of the park. Death Valley was first inhabited by the Timbisha tribe with villages located in different areas of the Valley. One Timbisha village called the Valley maahunu, hunu meaning canyon. Another called it tumpisa or rock paint, so named for the red ochre paint that was made from a particular local clay. One group of miners during the 1849 California Gold Rush dubbed the searing, waterless landscape “Death Valley” upon finally finding a pass through the Panamint mountains and reaching western California. On the heels of the Gold Rush, silver and gold were discovered in the Valley in the 1850s and borax discovered in the 1880s. Mule-drawn wagons and fortune seekers flooded the Valley to extract these precious resources. In 1925, an entrepreneur built the original hotel at Stovepipe Wells. In 1933, President Hoover declared Death Valley under federal protection as Death Valley National Monument. In 1994, it was re-designated Death Valley National Park and expanded to its current size of three million acres. For more information on the history of Death Valley, visit: http://www.nps.gov/deva/historyculture/index.htm  

NPAF is a 501(c)3 non-profit dedicated to the promotion of the National Parks of the U.S. through creating dynamic opportunities for artworks that are based on our natural and historic heritage. Artists may apply with their proposals for this residency and find additional information at www.nationalparksartsfoundation.org. The AiR program is made possible through the philanthropic support of donors of all sorts ranging from corporate sponsors, small businesses, and art patrons and citizen-lovers of the Parks. NPAF is always seeking new partners for its wide-ranging artist-in-residence programs.

National Parks Arts Foundation


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