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In the Places of the Spirits

David Grant Noble; Foreword by N. Scott Momaday

In the Places of the Spirits2010. 176 pp., 76 duotone plates, 5 additional photos, 9 x 102010. 176 pp., 76 duotone plates, 5 additional photos, 9 x 10

This book represents the culmination of David Grant Noble’s forty-year career as a fine arts photographer and writer. It features seventy-six duotone plates of the land, people, and deep past of the Southwest, most published here for the first time. Accompanying these beautiful images are personal reflections interwoven with historical and anthropological information. The moving passages reveal much about the man and the magnificent land that inspires his artistry.

“The places we know,” Noble writes, “can be infused with memory and spirit, and landscapes can have soul. The stories contained may speak of creation, gods, mythic monsters, and heroes. They may hold narratives reminding us of triumphs and defeats, sorrows and joys. A place is more than a landform or an ecosystem; it has the capacity to evoke emotion, transmit knowledge and wisdom, and even show people how to live.”

These photographs and words portray the land’s soul, the artist’s vision. Through them, the ancient landscapes and peoples of the Southwest tell their tales, display their beauty, remind us that we are only the most recent of many who have lived and been inspired here.

Katsina Figure, Rinconada CanyonKatsina Figure, Rinconada CanyonPhotograph by David Grant Noble, Plate 11, from “In the Places of the Spirits.”A Cliff House, Cedar Mesa, UtahA Cliff House, Cedar Mesa, UtahPhotograph by David Grant Noble, Plate 26, from “In the Places of the Spirits.”
Katsina Figure, Rinconada CanyonA Cliff House, Cedar Mesa, Utah
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  • 2012 New Mexico-Arizona Book Award

Contributors: David Grant Noble

View the Table of Contents

Download an excerpt (PDF, 91 KB).

Read Reviews

  • “This book is about humanity, timelessness, and place in the American Southwest. Amidst an alternating beat of facts, personal narrative, and photographs of landscapes imprinted with ancient images and ancestral homes, the reader/viewer is engaged in a singular odyssey through centuries and sacred space where the boundaries of time are erased. As David Noble explores the unpredictable and uncertain bridges between past and present, he weaves all of us into a continuous—if not seamless—fabric of being in a moment in time.”
    Polly Schaafsma, author of Indian Rock Art of the Southwest
  • “Explorer, writer, and photographer extraordinaire David Grant Noble leads us on an archaeological odyssey through the Southwestern landscape. The spirituality of the places and the Native American inhabitants, both contemporary and ancient, are splendidly captured by Noble’s elegant prose and vivid photographs. In the Places of the Spirits is a very personal chronicle by one of the Southwest’s most sensitive and insightful observers.”
    Mark Michel, President, The Archaeological Conservancy
  • “This book sums up one scholar/artist’s lifetime of good work and takes us deep into the soul of the Southwest.”
    Stephen Trimble, author of The People: Indians of the American Southwest
  • “In the Places of the Spirits renews our appreciation of the ancient heritage of the American Southwest and of the modern art of photography.”
    George A. Miles, Curator, Western Americana Collection, Yale University Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
  • “Noble has...with his evocative photographs and his thoughtful observations in the accompanying essays, documented truths about all human divicization....Enthusiasts of the ancient cultures of the Southwest will enjoy this handsome book.”
    New Mexico Magazine, April 2011
  • “Noble’s openness and sensitivity to people, light, and spirit make In the Places of the Spirits a beautiful and deeply rewarding book.”
    R. K. Dickson, The Bloomsbury Review, Winter 2010/2011
  • “The publication of a new book by writer-photographer David Grant Noble is cause enough for celebration....The full glory of Native American depictions: abstract, shamanistic, hallucinatory, is here for armchair perusal....The vacancy and vastness of the West is portrayed as only a sensitive photojournalist living the moment can attest....For those with the time and interest, David Noble’s work is a fine beginning.”
    George De Man, Alumni Horae, St. Paul’s School, Fall 2010
  • “If you want to understand the Southwest deeply, or if our region is already entwined in your soul, David Grant Noble’s new book is nearly essential. There's so much more in here than in the usual regional picture book. Something mysterious and ineffably brilliant often takes place when your eyes lock into a David Noble photograph.”
    Richard Polese, Libro, Sept.-Oct., 2010
  • “While archaeology is about data, scientific method, and facts, subjects Noble has written much about, this book is more spiritual. It is a personal narrative of a keen observer that intertwines vivid descriptions with stunning photographs to lead the reader to the places that define the pueblo people....It is a must read for everyone who loves the region’s Native American cultures.”
    American Archaeology, vol. 14, no. 4, Winter 2010-11

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