Artist Statements

Where Mountains Once Were

I’ve always felt a deep connection to nature, finding solitude and the ability to collect myself in the woods. Walking deep into a thick forest, wading in cool running water of mountain streams, or squatted on a remote beach, the natural world envelops me with a sense of peace and confidence. Richard Louv describes this phenomenon in The Nature Principle as fulfilling our deficit of nature, our intense and physical need for connection to the earth. Given that we cannot spend every waking moment immersed in the natural world, observing the lessons nature has to teach us, the question becomes, how do we curtail our "nature deficit" in a technology-rich, work-driven world?

Even those that do manage to break away from the day-to-day still feel the pull of the wild. Where mountains once were, named after a chapter in Louv's book, is my response to consoling my nature deficit when nature isn't a possibility, or gone altogether. The images come from endless hours of watching nature documentaries, attempting to consume nature in an indirect way, finding some semblance of the emotional recharge I receive from being in the wild. More than a simple snapshot, it’s about that extended moment of stillness. It’s my attempt to still feel connected to the thing that gives me breath and life.


Photography's ability to frame objects and alter our sense of perspective has always fascinated me and has replicated the way I observe and study what surrounds me. The images in Ruminations on Earthen and Osseous Matter are a visual connection of aerial images of the earth (created by scanning Google Earth) and my "aerial" images of bones as a response. My goal is not to mimic or replicate exactly, but to respond visually to the earthen images in a way that allows the viewer to make the connection in the earth, and an object that will eventually turn back into earth.


I am an observer, learning from the world through careful study and slight remove. Birds, bones, and Other Once-living Things grew out of observing the natural world around me while living in a cabin nestled in the woods of the Ozark mountains, surrounded by a wild world of overgrown trees, crazy poison ivy that stands up on its own like trees, wild creatures, and rich, rocky earth. Plants from last season’s garden decompose under the protection of the trees and remain as shells of the previous season’s harvest. Old bones and animals carcases are brought like trophies to my front yard by our two dogs. Birds crash into my living room windows and fall to the porch. A few escape rattled, but unharmed after gathering their composure in my daughter’s gentle hands. Most, however, take their last breath in those hands. All become simple and quiet discussions about life, death, and regeneration. These images are an attempt to capture those moments, to understand and observe this beautifully fragile life lived out in our woods.