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Art Exhibit Begins: "Joshua Tree 2017" by Nettie Peña

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Joshua Tree 2017

Joshua Tree Sunrise by Nettie Pena
An Art Exhibit by Photographer Nettie Peña

Explore Joshua Tree National Park through the lens of photographer Nettie Peña. These photos were taken after a rainy winter in the Spring of 2017. The exhibit will be on display in the Library through Saturday, November 18th.

Nettie Peña was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. At a young age, Nettie traveled with her sister and parents all over California. Seeing the Giant Redwoods for the first time was an unforgettable experience. Their vacations included traveling by car through Arizona, visiting the Grand Canyon, Santa Fe, New Mexico and Texas. Nettie lived with her family for a few years in San Antonio, Texas. Teenage years were back in Los Angeles. Her high school graduation gift was a trip to New York. But not by airplane. She got to go all the way across the United States on a train. She saw the West, Great Plains, Chicago, then on to New York, down through the East Coast, to New Orleans, the South West and back to Los Angeles. Images were to become Nettie's life's passion.

Nettie received her Bachelor in Arts and Master of Fine Arts Degrees from UCLA. Her career and love for still photography really began there. Her still photos were exhibited at the UCLA Art Gallery. As a Theater Arts student in the Motion Picture Department, Nettie was awarded the William Morris Scholarship for Outstanding Film Directing. Her student films include Cum Joyn Us, Wonderful World of Wigs and Call it Collage '66. Nettie took many still photographs of her friends Jim Morrison and Ray Manzarek of The Doors at the London Fog. These historical still photos were released by The Doors Management in December of 2016.

After graduating from UCLA, she went on to work for NBC TV News in Burbank in the News Editing Department. Following her work at NBC, she filmed and produced documentaries for the SGI Buddhist Organization. Nettie's work with the SGI allowed her to travel to Japan several times, film in Mexico, Panama, Peru, Brazil, Puerto Rico, and all over the United States. In 1992, Ms. Peña became concerned with the uprisings in Los Angeles.

Believing education to be the key to helping children, she became a highly effective, inner-city elementary math coach and teacher from 1993-2007. In 2007 Nettie moved to Palm Springs, CA. and immediately found herself filming a new documentary: They're Not Green. It was aired on PBS in Northern California in 2011. The documentary deals with the problems and effects that wind turbines have on flora and fauna and human health. Throughout the years as a documentary film maker, Nettie Pena has been passionate about her still photography. "I want to share decades of still photos from all the wonderful places I have seen and fascinating people I have met”.

Ms. Peña’s latest photographic endeavors have taken her to film the Mayans in Guatemala. Most recently in 2017, she has photographed the beauty of Joshua Tree National Park.

California suffered years of drought, very little rain fell. You might say California's parks and home gardens turned brown. Joshua Tree suffered from lack of flowers and new growth. This last winter, especially in January 2017, California had lots of rainfall. The seeds that had been laying dormant in the ground at Joshua Tree woke up and bloomed. Since I am fortunate to live near Joshua Tree in Palm Springs, I drove up a couple of times to see the miracle of nature in April and in May. I took many, many photographs and totally enjoyed myself at this historical moment in time. Who knows what tomorrow will bring? My friends and I also witnessed the scampering about [of] some of the High Desert animals like: the fox, road runners, bunnies, ravens, and squirrels. So wonderful! I hope you can enjoy my experience at Joshua Tree and make it your own with my photographs. —Nettie Peña

Nettie Peña may be reached regarding her photography by email:

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