Perhaps we now grieve because we are not sure, in our hearts, that we have gained by the exchange.
Aldo Leopold, 1947
• • •
In 2016 I came down with an illness while working on a farm. After months of struggling to hold onto the job I loved dearly, I had no choice but to walk away from it. Having worked there the previous season, I left with the sentiment that "all things work the same," a philosophy that had been instilled in me for quite some time by the man I worked for.
Still working part-time as a photographer, every minute outside of work was spent obsessively researching human health, earnestly trying to find an explanation for the breaking down of my body. After a while, I had to take a break from this all-consuming subject, and went back to my passion of learning about regenerative agricultural practices.
Going back-and-forth between these subjects, I could clearly see the similarities between healing my body and healing the land. The philosophy that "all things work the same" hit even closer to my heart as it took on a deeply personal meaning. The human immune system works in much the same way as a plant's immune system – the ability of both to ward off disease goes back to the health of the soil in which they rely upon.
In so many instances in life I could see our modern society replacing the real, or the gifts given to us by the universe, with the synthetic, or man-made constructs. And ultimately, I believe it is these substitutions that are causing the decline in the health of our population, as well as the decline in the health of our soils, the very base of our existence.
Fortified vitamins certainly do not equate to bioavailable nutrition.
Genetically-modified formula does not compare to the sustenance found in mother's milk.
Immunizations do not replace our need to build up healthy gut bacteria.
And chemical fertilizers cannot compete with the etheric forces also at play when ruminants stomp their manure into grasslands.
The implementation of technological advancements such as these have allowed us to sidestep actually having a genuine understanding of how living systems truly work. But these are temporary fixes. They are cover-ups. And because they simply go against how natural law operates, they will surely not stand the test of time.
Being able to go on gentle walks here and there, I realized time and time again that I was stumbling upon visual representations of this very idea – the idea that we have outgrown our dependence on the natural world and can simply replace our innate human needs with the artificial creations of industry.
I did not initially intend for the photographs in Test Plot to be seen, but by piecing them together over the past two years, I can now see that they represent my cry out to question, 'has our movement towards a culture that places an emphasis on the surface and the short-term fix been worth it? As we move further away from a deep understanding of that which truly sustains us and towards greater magnitudes of industrialization, what are we losing?'
Above what is below (2016)
Abundantly clear (2016)
On sterile ground (2016)
Everything under the sun (2015)
Spinning the wheels (2017)
Sink, but not for reasons you might think (2015)
Out of context (2016)
Wood (n) Earth
BGSU Marketing & Communications
Photographs taken for Bowling Green State University's Marketing & Communications Department. The images are used for the university's website, magazine, social media and other various marketing materials.
A house concert is a musical performance that is presented in a home, or other noncommercial venue, that is attended by a small group of people. The tradition of the house concert is deeply embedded in the roots of American music. The most common way for the music of pioneering communities to be spread and preserved was by playing intimate performances in the home. By photographing house concerts throughout the eastern United States, this project honors that tradition.