Photographer Rosella Mosteller’s new coffee-table book “Montana: Mountains & More” has been chosen to be a part of the Montana Book Festival Sept.12 to 15 in Missoula.
Seventy-five of Mosteller’s images are bound together in a large-format book that also features stories, facts and her original haiku. The book of art was published as a limited printing of 100, numbered, and signed by the author.
Her image titled “Change of Nature,” featured in the book, was also juried into the current exhibition at the Paris Gibson Square Museum of Art in Great Falls. The book itself was recently in the exhibition “Celebrating Joy” at the Bigfork Art and Cultural Center.
A longtime resident of the Flathead Valley, Mosteller attended the School of the Art Institute Chicago and graduated from Academy of Art University, San Francisco, where she earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. Her work is recognized by the Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area, Wyoming, and the state of Montana’s permanent art collection through the Montana Arts Council at the University of Montana.
Mosteller feels her chosen medium, black and white photography, transforms the color of the landscape and what remains are images that give a person the emotive quality of Montana at its core. From cold mountain lakes to hot springs, the images in her book hold the texture of the flora, grit of the sand, sculpted rock and spraying falls. Readers will find meandering rivers, water lilies, misty mornings and the change of seasons.
An accomplished watercolorist, Mosteller was drawn to photography during a trip to Paris in 1995. With photography, she discovered she could work outside more and it brought to her life a greater left brain/right brain balance.
“Life is art and art is life,” Mosteller said in an interview with the Daily Inter Lake. “I don’t turn the switch off.”
Among her favorite places to shoot is, naturally, Montana. An avid backcountry hiker, Mosteller is aware of the dangers inherent in her work and tries to hike with a companion whenever she can.
“Every step I take I have to be careful,” she said. “It’s important that I stay keen and in the moment. One wrong step could inflict danger on myself or my companion.”
During her studies at the Academy of Art University Mosteller was required to shoot up to 150 photos for each of her four to five classes. It taught her that every type of lighting can be good for shooting. Her schooling also taught her to think of “landscape” in a much broader sense.
“It’s anything that gives you a sense of time and place,” she said, recalling a favorite photo in her new book of a leaf spinning on a spider’s dragline that caught her attention. The way she set her stop on her camera to make the single leaf appear to be suspended in mid-air gives a viewer pause.
Mosteller also volunteers as an art guide and docent, respectively, at the Missoula Art Museum and Hockaday Museum of Art, Kalispell. Eight years ago, she began a Cultural and Art History Club in the valley. Through monthly field trips to art studios and homes to view private collections, group members explore art in depth, challenging each other to continue learning through research and discussion of topics of their choosing.
“I believe culture is critical, yet often misunderstood,” Mosteller said, “But it’s also part of being human.” With the club Mosteller and members build tolerance and connections.
Annually, the group travels to a destination, such as Chicago, New York City, Fort Worth-Dallas, and in Montana, for a live, up-close art and culture experience.
“Montana: Mountains & More” is for sale online at mostellerphotos.com and locally at the Hockaday Museum of Art. Regionally, the Missoula Art Museum offers it for sale in its Montana art book collection. It will also be available through Fact & Fiction at the Montana Book Festival.
Learn more at www.mostellerphotos.com