“If you want to learn what someone fears losing, watch what they photograph.”
This quote brought tears to my eyes, because it made me think about what it would mean to lose what I photograph. I thought of the images my friends have captured of me in my natural habitat, where I have a camera strapped across my body & another camera clutched carefully in my hands, peering through the viewfinder and calculating the composition of a shot, always keeping both of my eyes open as I press the shutter release. I can look at any one of my photographs & tell you exactly what I was feeling when I captured that specific moment. I can tell you how the weather felt on that day. I can tell you about the broader image that extended beyond the lens of my camera, no matter if it was a decade ago or just yesterday.
Friends & strangers view my photographs, seeing the colors in the trees or the sun setting behind a distant peak, but I see pieces of myself in every image. I see my past struggles & present triumphs, baggage & pain, peace & humility. I see my journey. The mountains push me, engaging me in a way that people can’t. Photographing the beauty in the natural world reminds me that I am such a small, insignificant speck in a very big, significant universe. Being outside, getting tangled along the trails of a mountain with the sun kissing my skin, revives my spirit. The breeze weaving through the pines peacefully whisks away every one of my personal fears, insecurities, & anxieties, consistently introducing me to parts of myself that I never knew existed. I am a new person entirely because of the silent solitude & fervent fellowship that I found simultaneously among those vibrant hills.
I never want to lose my sense of adventure, passion, or spontaneity. I never want to lose sight of the mountain tops or my ability to reach them. I see the strength within myself every time that I look to the west & I know that if I lost those peaks, I would also lose myself.