As a young child growing up in California, we did as young kids do, played outside most days. You don’t really think about our human connection with nature but by being outdoors is a means of freedom to play and pretend. Winter would see us snow skiing and sledding in the Sierra Nevada’s and in the spring and summer we were always either camping in the mountains or at the beach. When I was 15 or 16 my parents gave me my first camera, a Pentax k1000 and from that moment on I was never without it. Photography to me is a means of self-expression and it is a tool for healing, relaxing, renewal and documentation. I am not only interested in catching images of grand vistas, but of the tiny delicate inner workings of the Earth; what makes it tick, how does it operate, were a few of the questions in my mind. As I look around me I see elements of our natural world that are full of line, texture, shape and form. Beauty is enhanced in a variety of ways, it is in and around us everyday and it is my goal to communicate this in a visceral way. Every tiny detail has a purpose from the plasticity of water and ice to the abstractions and definitions of trees and rocks.
Earth is what permeates that life force and creates inside us an internal mental image and water is the vital element, which we cannot do without. I connect with the earth based on a personal event in my life, which happened to me, I was a victim of rape. Because of this event, I have a different outlook on our planet and the environment. When a person is violated in a brutal way something is lost of their dignity and spirit. For me, being outside in the environment is a connection to life, it heals and feeds the spirit and soul and brings balance. When an environmental violation occurs, I take it personally, as an offense to something sacred and in my own personal path to healing. My photographic work takes on issues that relate to environmental concerns, and in this case, mainly water and how we as humans contribute to the pollution of this once a pristine environment.
In California, we are dependent on water for many things agriculture, economic and personal use; in essence, water is the supportive element of life. With industry and energy sources, it is imperative to investigate the consequences that population growth, climate change and consumerism has on the natural world. If we don’t pay attention to the pollution in the water as well as the drought, then what happens to us? It is no secret that when “water from rain and melting snow runs off roofs and roads into our rivers, it picks up toxic chemicals, dirt, trash and disease-carrying organisms along the way.” (NRDC) Eventually it lands in our oceans, lakes, rivers and streams as well as the aqueducts and irrigation levies. This includes not only chemicals but also trash too. Plastic seems to be a persistent element in our water and on the terra firma and farms, orchards and vineyards. “Many of our water resources also lack basic protections, making them vulnerable to pollution from factory farms, industrial plants, and activities like fracking. This can lead to drinking water contamination, habitat degradation and beach closures.” (NRDC) What is troubling is that I am not sure that people take water seriously and think it can be replenished yearly with rainfall. I have heard people say that with the rain comes a cleaning out of the streambeds, lakes and rivers but now, especially in California as water is almost nonexistent, if we don’t think about it and try to take care of it then we are lost. Classical artists like Da Vinci and Michelangelo communicated to us the world through their chosen craft of sculpture, painting or drawing and so to do photographers, such as Edward Burtensky and Chris Jordan. “Like the albatross, we first-world humans find ourselves lacking the ability to discern anymore what is nourishing from what is toxic to our lives and our spirits. Choked to death on our waste, the mythical albatross calls upon us to recognize that our greatest challenge lies not out there, but in here.”- Chris Jordan, 2011”The craft of photography has a power to influence and change the heart and mind, to be unique and set apart from the ordinary artistic image. There is power to communicate how to be different and what we want to say thru time and at the same time, create healing for ourselves too.