The earth and its many inhabitants offer the inquisitive eye an incomparable sense of wonder. Yet two long-term perils threaten the future of this planet. The first, poorly considered economic and physical expansion, threatens the health of ecosystems and their inhabitants, human and animal alike. While often regional in nature, the cumulative effects of such expansion feed into the even broader threat of global climate change. As a photographer informed by a master’s degree in ecology (Colorado State University, 2010), I am interested in how art and science raise awareness of these challenges, shape our responses, and inspire positive change. I have focused my two longest-term projects – one of which is a work in progress looking at climate change and the other of which, now complete, focused on issues of regional growth and development in the American West – on these pressing issues.
“photography offers to restore and reinforce our sense of wonder at the world around us”
I complement these long-term projects with individual photographs primarily focused on landscapes and wildlife. While often driven by an underlying interest in conservation, such images provide an entryway into a language as much metaphorical as actual. In this realm I explore themes such as time, chance, and scale (both temporal and spatial), almost always presented in black and white. Indeed, in a world awash in color imagery, black and white photography represents an ideal medium through which to take viewers beyond their everyday experience.
Finally, the interplay between images and words presents another avenue for creative exploration. If the artist contends that a picture is worth a thousand words, and the writer rejoins that a word is worth a thousand pictures, can the two mediums combine in ways that extend beyond the bounds of either one in isolation? I believe the answer is yes and have explored this space both through individual photographs and larger projects.
While the challenges facing our planet and its inhabitants are many, I am buoyed by the notion that art – and photography in particular – can play a critical role in education, awareness, and positive change. More than that, photography offers to restore and reinforce our sense of wonder at the world around us.