Inspired by his father’s photography hobby, Scott de Fasselle snapped a couple of photographs while on a family vacation to Rocky Mountain National Park in 1997. Before he knew it, photography became his passion—and, as a result, his concentration while majoring in art at Xavier. His senior thesis was a project of photo montages culled from trips to state and national parks where he tried to capture the grandeur of nature’s own art.
“My goal is to capture whatever emotional reaction I have to that scene that made me stop in the first place, photograph it and bring it back to show others,” de Fasselle says. After that first trip, de Fasselle received a camera for Christmas, and that’s when the real picture-taking began.
The family took a trip to Acadia National Park in Maine, and de Fasselle went wild. “I was taking dozens of photographs, and some of them became part of my senior thesis.” More trips followed. He especially liked Bryce Canyon and Zion national parks in Utah. “Bryce Canyon is extremely powerful. You walk down into the canyon and are surrounded by all these rock formations that range in color from off-white to deep orange. The pillars of rock as they degrade over time with wind and natural phenomena become these sand dunes with layers of colored strata. It’s just beautiful.”
De Fasselle’s appreciation of nature was nurtured in his childhood with lots of camping and hiking around his home near Lake Erie in northeast Ohio. The vacations to wonderlands like Montana’s Glacier National Park were a natural follow-up.
As de Fasselle started thinking about his senior thesis, a style developed that he still practices today. He creates montages from photographs scanned into the computer where he layers images until he has the look he wants. His photos never include people, but often feature dead trees and are usually scenic landscapes. The effect can be stunning. He knows how to capture just the right light, often by getting up before dawn and waiting for the moment when the sun’s first rays creep over the tops of mountain ranges.
“I call it scenic photography,” says the 2003 graduate. “When I load it into my computer, sometimes they just jump out at me.” Now employed at a computer design firm in Cincinnati, de Fasselle and his parents sell their photos on their web site, www.deadtreephotography.com. They chose the name because dead trees work so well as a natural foreground element in their pictures.