Sacrament: Homage to a River

The soul of California’s largest river

“To fall in love with a wild river is to be changed forever, heart and soul. To fall for a river in California is to live with the scars and ghosts of loss.”

In Sacrament: Homage to a River, Geoff Fricker’s atmospheric photographs reveal the geology, salmon runs, fluvial morphology, and human impact of the Sacramento River. In dreamlike black and white, the river takes on mythic proportions, in both its wild eco-systems and its human-made influences. Interwoven with Fricker’s images are Rebecca Lawton’s eloquent descriptions of the beauty of the river and the issues that currently surround it. Each page an expression of the authors’ fascination with and care for “the Sac,” Sacrament is both an emotive exhibition of the wonder of California’s largest waterway and a cautionary tale of its continued degradation.

Advance Praise

“Separately, the pictures and text draw us in. Sacrament is both intellectually challenging and visually seductive. Experienced together, Geoff Fricker’s beautiful and sometimes disturbing photographs and Lawton’s eloquent scientific prose provide a portrait of the Sacramento River that shows both how it has been abused and how it can be healed.”

—Mary D. Nichols, former Secretary of Natural Resources, State of California


“Geoff Fricker shows us the Sacramento River in a way that nobody has ever done, and Rebecca Lawton eloquently urges us to take a view that is at once practical and reverent. The great river of California is honored by this fine book.”

—Tim Palmer, author of Rivers of California

About the Author and Photographer

Rebecca LawtonRebecca Lawton was one of the first woman river guides on the Colorado in Grand Canyon as well as other rivers in the West. Since 1974 she has teamed with geomorphologists, paleontologists, and ge- ographers to study the movement of silt, clay, sand, fossils, and other sedimentary particles in streams. Rebecca’s essay collection Reading Water: Lessons from the River was a San Francisco Chronicle Bay Area Bestseller. She currently serves on the board of directors for Friends of the River and lives on Pequeño Creek in Sonoma Valley.
Geoff FrickerGeoff Fricker’s photographs are housed in the permanent collections of a diverse set of museums across the United States, including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Oakland Museum of California, the Crocker Art Museum, the Library of Congress, and other cultural institutions in California, Hawaii, Arizona, Nevada, and Texas. He has received numerous awards and grants to document watersheds. He holds an M.F.A. in photography from the San Francisco Art Institute. Geoff lives with his wife, Sandee, on the banks of Butte Creek, a major salmon tributary of the Sacramento River.