As I explore Colorado’s forested areas near my home, I find pockets of destruction. Downed trees, trash heaps and many spent rounds. While feeling a deep sense of anger, I am determined to photograph these spaces to bring awareness to this blight.
I am an avid darkroom practitioner and enjoy the tactile connection with film. I believe that in a documentary practice, I have a tangible artifact that becomes a part of history. Film has always remained a large part of my photography endeavors as it slows me down, keeps me focused and selective in my compositions, and in part, I pay homage to the documentary photographers who I admire such as Robert Adams.
Moving forward, I see this project evolving into a socially conscious exhibition, and book. I have added the use of the wet collodion plate process, as I believe in recognizing the earliest of environmental documentary photographers to include Civil War photographer George Barnard who made plates of the downed trees shattered by artillery fire on Sherman’s March to the Sea. I believe this connection helps to reveal the resilience of nature, and my hope that she continues to be as resilient.
I also collect tangible artifacts from the sites. I see these objects as becoming another integral element in an exhibition. I plan to photograph these objects – everyday items such as a shattered bowling pin, and a limp mannequin head attached to a road cone – in a studio environment as though they are commercial products, although products of absurdity. These photographs will invite the viewer to inspect these objects with a more critical eye when removed from the area of destruction.
“Something will have gone out of us as a people if we ever let the remaining wilderness be destroyed … We simply need that wild country available to us, even if we never do more than drive to its edge and look in.”
– Wallace Stegner, The Sound of Mountain Water