Every step we take becomes part of the land. Our personal geographies interact and create layers of human history. The traces left behind, both by us, and by nature become visual narrartives that illustrate a presence. I am drawn to these traces, and find a natural inclination towards this subject in my creative work.
The artist Richard Long made this observation, “A map is just one more layer, a mark laid down upon thousands of other layers of human geographic history on the surface of the land.” I found this extremely compelling. We have maps for just about everything. It is a visual way to understand our orientation and organization. As a runner, I track most of my runs using a GPS watch. When I upload these runs to the website it gives me a map with a red route depicting where I ran on that run. I began thinking about these maps in relation to the quote. The maps gave the runs permanence, no longer just data, or a memory, but a “mark laid down on the surface of the land.” As I began sorting through these maps I was intrigued by the patterns and interesting linear shapes, especially when extracted from the map itself. While the lines become abstracted, they still represent traces of where I have run; my presence left somewhere. Carving these routes into wood deeper reflects how we carve our path into the earth. While unseen on the land, I want to draw attention to the idea that there are many layers of human geographic history on the land and we each leave our own unique trails.
Similarly, in this body of photographic work, I am interested in the relationship of our traces, and how they relate to the traces left by nature. All of our journeys come together and are connected in some way. This is witnessed by daily interactions, as well as in the miscellany and seemingly mundane of the everyday. In this collection of photographs, I explore the traces or indications of the existence of something. Whether that is depicted through stacks of house ware in a thrift store, organized shelves of identical souvenirs, an abandoned couch on the side of the road, or even the unique curve of a molded landscape, there is a presence of something passing through.
There are traces all around us. Rivers leave traces, and wind sculpts a landscape leaving its trace. You can even see the trace of a snail’s path in the sunlight, or the trail of an insect carved into wood. My personal geography intermingles with thousands of years worth of other geographies. This relationship is represented through the coalescing of things that we come into contact with. It’s an unspoken dialogue that connects humans to each other, and to the earth.