Cross Country Journey (2018)
Into Awareness: A Cross-Country Photographic Journey
The images in this portfolio were made on a recent cross-country photographic expedition. The impetus for this solo journey was to discover my identity and relation to the world stripped of past and present roles as wife, mother, daughter, banker, yoga instructor, etc. To create images of connection in the grand landscape, I traveled to pristine places, often journeying on foot for long distances. When I began the journey, there were things I was afraid I might encounter, like grizzly bears, losing my way, and other obstacles in the great unknown. The country in its vastness was a little frightening for me as a woman in her fifties traveling alone. As my journey progressed, I discovered my fears existed inside and did not always correlate with what was out there. I realized if I attuned my senses to what was around me, I would be safer than if I allowed myself to get lost in my own paranoid fantasies of what might happen. I learned to trust my own intuition as I chose the subjects of my photographs, knowing that I would test my limits safely if I followed my inner voice.
When images are made with a heightened awareness of all the senses, the connection with what is being photographed is accentuated. It is easier for the viewer to feel in the presence of the subject and to respond on an emotional level. Photographing the grand landscape makes man’s smallness acutely apparent. It inspires awe and respect. Appreciating the earth’s majesty also takes the viewer out of the rut of daily life and myopic perception and expands the limits of consciousness. My journey into awareness allowed me to see the natural world for what it is and not as something that is out to get me. In today’s society people have become so disconnected from the environment and often only pay attention to natural disasters. Nature is viewed as something that is out to harm us instead of the foundation for our very existence, when we are in fact the ones harming the planet through fossil fuels, pumping water over mountains, and other unnatural acts that are throwing our ecosystems off kilter. My photographs invite the viewer to appreciate the beauty of our national and state parks and other areas of pristine wilderness, and to experience the healing power of nature for our own psyches. They are also a call to action to preserve these areas from the affects of climate change and pollution before it is too late.