One hundred years from now, when you are a memory and your great-grandchildren speak of your life in these mountains, they will reach for Mark Fox's book and marvel at photographs of lives lived at full tilt in Summit County, Colo. In this stunning new collection of photos captured over nearly a quarter of a century, Fox gives us the best possible gift for the holiday season: a family album and a hypnotic time capsule that you will share with your friends and loved ones.
Fox, the photojournalist for the Summit Daily News, has lived in Summit County for more than 20 years. He chronicles the people, events, wild creatures and the snow-scoured landscape of this unique place, shooting pictures 365 days a year.
With a journalist's keen sensibility, Fox documents our shared history. He also shows us photography's relationship to the truths that we care about most. As you turn these pages, you'll ask yourself, how did we get so lucky? And who better than Fox to commemorate a resilient people who celebrate eight-month- winters?
The magic is in how Fox seizes a moment and fills his pictures with frenetic energy. How does he get these shots? Watch Chris Klug, a two-time Olympian round a gate at Copper Mountain. Klug bares his teeth, his expression is ferocious, and his body canted at an impossible angle. Snow falls in the foreground, a blue gate frames him; the red fence in the back pushes Klug nearer to us. The composition is exquisite, and Klug's competitive drive is palpable.
Fox's wide-ranging expertise is on display with a revelatory cross-fire of unforgettable images. Despairing Summit High School football players weep on the sidelines after losing a game. Danelle Ballengee gazes at us with grim determination as she pushes her wheelchair around the rec center track.
Mark Fox introduces us to a crowd of Silverthorne elementary students as they react to a magician's trick. Their faces form a kaleidoscope of emotions from glee to skepticism. A few pages away, JoAnne Tyson plays crack the whip on a frozen pond with five giddy children, one of whom has lost his stocking hat to a thieving golden retriever.
We watch a father and daughter achieve lift-off on a plastic sled in Carter Park. There is 4-year-old Molly, airborne, hair blowing in the wind. Her father Russ shouts as the two of them hurtle down the hill, held aloft by a plume of snow. Molly glances aside and grins at us as if to say "Don't be such a chicken." Norman Rockwell would have sacrificed his false teeth to illustrate such images.
Fox's portraits are immediate and luminous. Here is a timeless black-and-white photo of an old mountain man cradling a husky pup. The pup squints in the high-elevation light. A nimbus of white hair swirls around the man's weathered face, the texture of his wiry beard contrasts with the pup's soft fur. Later, there is a full color portrait of saxophonist Maceo Parker as he performs at a jazz concert. Parker's espresso skin glitters with sweat, his eyes are rapturously closed. You can hear the ice clinking in the glasses and feel Parker's breath coming through that photo.
Then too, Fox shows us the High Country we inhabit: a place of cataclysmic lightning storms, profoundly desolate peaks and fireworks bursting over snowy cabins. Every resident of the county should own this family photo album. Hotels need a copy in each room and those who rent property to guests should display this book for the enjoyment of our visitors. It's also a great gift for clients.
Don't miss Fox's book release and signing party on Thursday, Dec. 1 from 5-7 p.m. at the 5th Avenue Grille at 423 Main St., Frisco. The book is a bargain at $39.95. Bring a check or cash because Mark isn't set up for credit cards. Copies are also available at the Next Page Bookstore, 409 Main St., Frisco, and at the front desk of the Summit Daily News, 40 W. Main St., Frisco.