The Dangerous Man, Aboriginal pictograph, Northern Territory, Australia

Golden Fish, Aboriginal pictograph, Northern Territory, Australia

About the Artist

Leon Yost is a professional documentary photographer who has worked as a location scout for the BBC and is published in Time-Life Books, American Photo, The New York Times and numerous other publications. He began documenting rock art after he first visited the American Southwest in 1976.

Yost has had 28 solo gallery exhibitions, and two solo museum exhibitions: the Jersey City Museum in 1979 and the San Diego Museum of Man in 1997. 

About the Work

In his 2018 exhibit, Yost takes us on a photo-journey to Aboriginal Australian painted places strategically situated across the far-flung outback. In the most remote regions, ancient cultures still survive, well separated from the coastal cities where the more recent populations reside. Aboriginals have no written language, but their oral stories tell their history, illuminated by these colorful compositions. The sacred and powerful rock art sites evoke elaborate narratives from the dreamtime when trees could walk and animals could talk.

Yost says, “After several decades photographing rock art in North America, I was thrilled to visit similarly early sites in the Australian Outback. I saw parallels in function but differences in artistic style. Australian rock art is bold and graphic, and in some cases still maintained by traditional tribal elders, faithfully following the ancient customs.” A 67-page color catalog: A Tour of Australian Rock Art, is available here.

Contact the artist