My photography takes an intimate look at place and local landscape. Sometimes with a critical eye toward human/nature interaction and often with a sympathetic eye toward the plant and animal communities of which humans are a part, I explore the yearning to belong and feel at home in a complex world of braided interactions and tangled histories. Uninterested in romantic conceptions of the natural world, I strive instead to feel the character of a given place, or a given individual within that place, and to bring that essential character to light. I view my photographic practice as one of dialogic engagement and reciprocal exchange with the various beings, forms, and forces that, knotted together and always interacting, create our shared human and other-than-human community.
What is a photography of belonging? The various meanings of Gelang, an Old English and current Dutch word, inform the approach:
To go along with -- approaching in a like manner, going together with and assenting to. It means being in sync, remaining adaptable, flexible, sympathetic, and companionable. It implies a partnership and a need for cooperation. It values affinity and affiliation.
To be dependent upon -- recognizing one’s vulnerability and limitations, approaching with a sense humility, recognizing the influence of others, both human and other-than-human, and feeling grateful for their influence and aid.
To be present -- being fully alive to a place, aware, available, accessible, open, embodied, and pliable. It means remaining for the duration and maintaining a sustained attention.
To be attainable from -- being realized through, reaped through, acquired through, and endowed by. Gelang is thus a practice that fully acknowledges the fact that landscape/nature provides the grounds for knowledge and self-development.
To belong to -- submitting to spirit of life that animates and sustains us, no matter how we wish to define that spirit.
Altogether, belonging is relational, adaptable, and accordant.