High and Low, in the Mountain's Navel

This series is a reflection on the human relationship with nature. It is an intimate reflection as well as a systemic one. We have all made our mark on the land in which we live - this is inevitable. But sustainability is waning and our mark upon this place is growing. This series doesn’t exist to state facts or answer any questions, as there are myriad sources for those purposes. This series is simply intended to pose the question of our involvement with the natural world around us.

I have grown up in and around the rural backcountry of Idaho. Mountains have always been totems of the human spirit for me, places where one goes to test themselves, emerging from the event somehow enlightened and recharged. When first learning to hike the trails of the rugged Sawtooth Mountains I learned the backpacker’s creed: “leave no trace.” It meant that you pass through an area, take in its beauty, and leave behind nothing. No trash, no carvings in trees, nothing. The only things you take with you are what you have learned. Nothing physical leaves with you, save for the nutrients from the fish you caught in an alpine lake.

Leave no trace is a personal ethos, but it’s become apparent to me that it applies off the mountain as well. The things we throw away end up somewhere. The energy we use comes from sort of process. It’s easy to toss a plastic bag in the trash, or flip a switch - to accept naivety and ignorant bliss. But leave no trace is simply not enough when practiced in select moments and locations. What is our relationship with the land on an everyday basis; what is our impact?

This is a series of digital photographs with modifications and renderings in photoshop, some more obvious than others. Just as we humans have left our mark on this Earth, I have left my mark on these landscape images.