Indian Ladder

A Lyric Journey

Photographs by John Yang

Subjects: New York/regional, Art
Imprint: Distribution Partners
Paperback : 9780939072163, 80 pages, January 2007

Beautiful landscape photographs of the Helderberg Escaprment in New York State by renowned photographer John Yang.


Since 2001, New York City photographer John Yang has captured in amazing detail the beauty of the landscape around Thatcher Park, fifteen miles west of Albany, New York. The park is marked by a massive wall of rock nearly 1,100 feet in height, known as the Helderberg Escarpment. It is a prominent geological feature that marks the landscape and defines the northern limits of the Helderberg Mountains, the third most significant mountain chain in New York State. According to local lore, American Indians constructed a ladder at the escarpment in order to traverse the steep rock wall. The legendary ladder has become ingrained in the identity of the place, to the point that "Indian Ladder" is synomous with Helderberg Escarpment. In 1914, land along the ridge was donated to the State of New York and dedicated as the John Boyd Thatcher State Park in honor of Albany's former mayor, historian, and foresighted conservationist.

Yang's stunning photographs of the Indian Ladder Trail are reminiscent of works by the great nineteenth-century photographers Carleton E. Watkins and William Henry Jackson. His seductive prints lead the viewer on a visual hike along Indian Ladder Trail, opening the eyes to expansive scenery at one moment and drawing one inward at the next, into dark and mysterious chambers of layered rock. A quiet timelessness pervades his scenes. Yang's photographic journey along Indian Ladder Trail is a lyric one, filled with a sense of self-discovery.