This year was outta sight! Never before have I devoted an entire year focused on a particular vision through photography. I am beyond grateful. If by chance I ever decide to put this camera down and pursue something else, I would like my work to be remembered as telling a story that emphasized the importance of returning to our roots. Of choosing awareness and insight over fear. Choosing to see divine beauty in small, subtle movements all around us.
You and I live in interesting times. Our attentions and desires are bought and sold at an incredible rate wielding an overbearing mountain of information at our fingertips. This has proven to be both helpful as well as problematic, while mostly just drawing more lines in the sand. I truly believe that (now more than ever,) it is crucial to step away from this cacophony of calamity; to wipe our eyes and hearts clean in the presence of wilderness, if only for a little while. Trust me, there is magic to be found out there, and it’s REAL.
I started this residency in the heart of winter last year, and I found solace during the cold hikes up and around Bogus Basin. I searched to photograph the inversion as it blanketed Boise for what felt like ages. My brother recieved his first car around the same time so we took a proper drive out past Idaho City in search of Sunset Mountain. We nearly made it to the top that day with skateboard shoes on (I can’t remember why we didn’t have boots, or any real winter gear for that matter). I took a picture of him on our way back to the car; I liked the way it highlighted his curiosity and our engagement to the experience despite the conditions. My buddy Ryan and I made a few trips out to the McCall and Counsil area to venture further into the season. These treks were bone chattering (specifically the long exposure shots in the middle of the highway at 3AM in Zero degrees that didn’t turn out) , yet highly rewarding. Winter has a method and a gorgeous, stunning presence all to its own.
Spring brought with it the familiar promise of regeneration, and watching the landscape come back to life was simply stunning. Jenny and I had just found our next house in Boise, and we took advantage of our access to the greenbelt near Quinn’s pond regularly. Balancing my “regular” job and the desire to get outside and create was really hard for me this year, and spring proved to be especially testing. Recieving the time off to attend the Wild Idaho event at Redfish Lake was a total blessing, allowing me to fully reset in the Sawtooth National Recreational area after becoming very disillusioned with tending bar back home. I was up before the sun every morning in hopes of catching some of the Sawtooth mountain peaks at first light. I finally got lucky on the last day when the storm clouds decided to break and move on. After Redfish we traveled and explored through Ketchum, Hailey and Sun Valley eventually making our way to Craters of the Moon where we spent the night. “Craters” is a uniquely gorgeous landscape and I highly reccomend a trip to this unlikely world. Check out my Wild Idaho blog post for the complete story and photos:
Summer announced its presence in searing fashion, with my first Modern Art show at The Modern Hotel in May, packing out room 238 with DJ Verstal who utilized the bed frame as a DJ booth. I struggled to hang as many prints in that tiny room and had a blast meeting everyone who strolled in. I love how people see so many different things in my photographs, everyone with their own unique perspective. Shortly after the show Idaho Mountain Touring donated a sweet Giant 29’er mountain bike rental to me for a couple weeks to explore the foothills and marvel at our own Boise backyard trails. See the full story and images about my time in the foothills here:
Something else magical happened this summer as a result of my residency. ARTA river trips offered me a six day journey down the legendary Middle Fork of the Salmon river in exchange for shots of the trip (no need to ask me twice!). We departed July 10th from Indian Creek. This was my first experience on a legitimate river rafting trip, sure to test out my extensive history of Indian Creek and Boise River floats of years past. It’s a miracle that I didn’t lose my camera during a rapid or get thrown off especially during the last two days through the Impassable Canyon area in the Frank Church Wilderness. This particular stretch of the trip was completely mind blowing from all angles. I think I’m still processing images and memories from my time there. Keeping the camera dry was a daily battle. Stay tuned for a Middle fork specific post for the full story and pictures.
August presented an opportunity to volunteer with the Idaho Trails Association on a seven day hike into America’s newest Wilderness; The Boulder White Clouds Wilderness. We hiked over sixty miles (in addition to trail work) in six days around an amazing base camp at Chamberlain Lake. I remember hearing about this area when I first returned to Idaho a few years back and had been aching to see what all the buzz was about. Well, I can clearly see now why the area prompted so many individuals to become embassadors for the Boulder White Clouds. We used traditional hand tools and learned how to maintain trails properly without chainsaws for foot and horse traffic…EPIC… Full set of pictures and story here:
SO MANY amazing memories from this summer! Again, I am grateful. Humbled. Overwhelmed. Overjoyed.
The transition into fall was splendid, this was a time for bike rides and brisk sunsets. The Boise Co-Op contacted me about my residency with ICL and commissioned a black and white Idaho landscape series to hang up at the new Meridian Co-Op location. You can see the photo wall up above the green menus. Boise Weekly recently published this story about the new Co-Op here:
(I am extremely grateful to Maureen Valko at the Boise Co-Op for reaching out to me and seeking to display my work in their stunning new store.)
Here we are once again at the gateway to winter and I find myself turning inward, reflecting on the life that I lived this year. Through photography and seeking the outdoors I have uncovered and refined a lifelong desire to feel more connected to my surroundings. Walking in these places, aligning myself to their natural rhythm is tremendously healing. I mentioned earlier about the modern day calamities we face as human beings, and indeed I do believe these issues are extremely complex, but there is something to be said about the power of the individual to shape the reality in which they exist. I’ll quote Ram Dass here, because I think he sums it up nicely:
“When you go out into the woods and you look at trees, you see all these different trees. And some of them are bent, and some of them are straight, and some of them are evergreens, and some of them are whatever. And you look at the tree and you allow it. You appreciate it. You see why it is the way it is. You sort of understand that it didn’t get enough light, and so it turned that way. And you don’t get all emotional about it. You just allow it. You appreciate the tree. The minute you get near humans, you lose all that. And you are constantly saying “You’re too this, or I’m too this.” That judging mind comes in. And so I practice turning people into trees. Which means appreciating them just the way they are”
Our terraqueous globe is still speaking to us, still inviting us into a space where we can actually process our lives in a loving manner. Still offering a chance for each and every one of us to feel more connected to each other, to the planet, and to ourselves. Still calling out to us to leave our comfortable bubbles and get lost in the mystery of experiences that lie outside of our control.
My final show with ICL is THIS WEEK THURSDAY, December 3rd at Sage Yoga & Wellness and I hope to see you all there (see flyer below)! As of January I will be turning the page on this chapter and looking ahead for more opportunities to get lost with my camera. I am currently looking for a chance to take pictures full time. Let me know if there are any opportunities in this amazing community that I may be missing out on. Thank you again for following me and I hope to see you Thursday!