I realize that many of my recent posts have been about life and introspection, and you may be saying, “Hey what happened to the photography?” Well, I have realized over the last few months that it is impossible to make honest images without first taking a good look at myself. As a result, my posts have been more philosophical. Its definitely not a bad thing, as I learn a lot of great things about myself every day. I hope they come through in my images.
Lying at the crossroads of three major ecosystems, I have always thought Zion National Park is a bit of a confused place. The Great Basin, Colorado Plateau, and Mojave Desert collide pretty much at the entrance to Zion Canyon, making for a unique landscape of red rock, datura, and ponderosa pines, one that draws thousands of tourists a year.
Lately I have been thinking about decisions, crossroads, and the paths we take in life. A friend of mine has told me several times that each sunset gives us an opportunity to reflect on our decisions, and each sunrise is a chance to either change them, or stay the course. The more I think about it, that’s a good way to look at life. A few months ago, David Leland Hyde guest-blogged for me and wrote about the decisions we make as photographers. Are we to make our own tripod tracks, letting the world hear our unique voice, or are we to make the derivative iconic images that have been made before? Is that truly original?
I think there’s more buried in David’s post than there initially appears to be. What I am realizing more every day is that my decisions as a person shape who I am as a photographer–these two things are not mutually exclusive. My images are my voice; through them you see the world as I do. To some extent, you see sadness, elation, and melancholy in my portfolio. I can feel the days that creativity is flowing inside of me; its like a warmth deep in my bones. Terry Tempest Williams wrote, “To discount wild beauty is to discount inspiration. Without inspiration, creativity dies.” This must surely mean that with inspiration, creativity can thrive–we can choose to accept beauty, and thus to be creative. Our choices affect us deeply and they shine through in our body of work.
The junction where we find Zion Canyon is arguably one of the more beautiful places in North America. There is a lot of solace here, knowing that each decision we make has the potential to be very positive, both for our general character, and for our art. What we do with that knowledge is up to us.