“Formation” by Hillary Raimo 41st Photography Regional at Collar Works Gallery, spring 2019

UPCOMING: “Formation” will be on display at the 2019 Photography Open at the Salmagundi Club July 15th – August 2nd. Reception Friday July 26th 6-9pm,
47 5th Ave, NY NY 10003


On the summer solstice 2017 I had the privilege of photographing the largest mineral collection to size in the world.

Privately owned by Richard Berger Masterpieces of the Earth Collection  is an extraordinary, mind-blowing experience of ancient elemental elders of our planet.
Living emanating beings of form. These often car sized crystal specimens included the Fontainebleau Concretions. These stunning pieces of ancient crystalline sand, water and alchemical forces of nature are some of the worlds most fascinating natural formations.

In 1988, the greatest find of Fontainebleau concretions in the last 350 years was unearthed and Richard Berger was so taken by their exotic beauty, that he contracted to acquire and represent the entire discovery.  Fontainebleau concretions from his Masterpieces Of The Earth Collection are now part of the permanent collections of The Smithsonian Institution (where a giant concretion resides immediately adjacent to the Hope Diamond), The Houston Museum of Natural Sciences, The Burke Museum Of Natural History And Culture,  and The Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History, as well as being a prominent part of a number of fine private art and mineral collections around the world.

The sand itself is 99% pure white silicate quartz sand and has been mined since the Middle Ages as source material for the stained glass windows of the great cathedrals of Europe as well as for fine Italian art glass through the centuries. Although the concretion was created two million years ago, it was formed in sand that was deposited 29 million years ago that was part of the ancient eastern shoreline of the Atlantic Ocean.

In the early 1900’s, there was a small find of concretions from Fontainebleau, and three of the most renown sculptors of the 20th century, Jean Arp, Costantin Brancusi, and Henry Moore had them in their studios and utilized the Fontainebleau concretions as a core source of inspiration for their work. These natural, extraordinarily sculptural formations also ignited the imagination of some of the French Surrealists.

This spring I will have my first public viewing of my photographs from my visit of the Masterpieces of Earth Collection.

“Formation” will be on display at the 41st Photography Regional at Collar City Gallery in Troy New York, guest curated by Kathleen Vance and Daniel Aycock directors of Front Room Gallery in NYC.

I promised to release my images and donate 100% of the sales to helping the manifestation of Richard’s vision of a Masterpieces of the Earth Museum. So these beings of immense consciousness can be experienced by everyone. Contact Collar Works Gallery for purchase instructions & pricing.

Hidden away in an undisclosed location are these incredible beings of force and form. My experience of them was unique and powerful. My hope was to capture their intrigue, sound and spirit in my images.

This summer I return to photograph the progression of the museum collection since I last saw it two years ago and to personally deliver my photograph “Formation” to Richard Berger who has requested it for display. You can’t imagine my excitement. They now have a 900sq. ft prototype of the giant crystal natural immersion space added to their 7000sq. ft display space.

The exhibit ends April 27th.


When asked what he thought of the Masterpieces of the Earth collection after viewing it, Stephen Hawkings replied,Impressive

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Read the Albany Times Union review of the exhibit “Photo Regional at Collar Works Pushes Boundaries April 2019

Read the Hudson Valley 360 review of the exhibit “Photography Regional 41 April 2019