2023 - California Deserts
I never thought I would fall in love with the desert. At first I was hesitant and unsure - how could a place so severe, so unforgiving and so vast even be understood, let alone loved? I've come to realize that these features are what make the desert so interesting. The severity is beautiful because it brings out the gentle and sympathetic within me; experiencing how unforgiving it is makes me feel alive and grateful; it's vastness has become a source of wonder and pleasure, as I can come to the desert to feel small and alone when I need it most and to release my scrambled mind into its emptiness.
As I spend more time in the desert, the mystery, grandeur and peace of the landscapes are starting to become more salient. It's a place that requires devotion and patience. At first glance it might not be easy to love, but it gets easier and easier the more time you spend with it.
This collection is split into two parks: 15 photographs from Death Valley National Park and 15 from Joshua Tree National Park. They represent two different desert environments and two different experiences I had earlier this year.
I visited Death Valley during a 5 day workshop with Guy Tal and Michael Gordon in February of 2023. This was my first, and most likely last, photography workshop. I was excited to learn as much as I could from two legendary photographers who I admired in one of my favorite natural places on earth.
During the workshop we had unusual weather, including plenty of rain and flooding, which made the experience even more special. It was difficult to process all of the teachings and incorporate them into my photographic practice during the workshop itself, but I could feel seeds being planted that I knew would impact my approach to making photographs and future work I would create.
I spent over a week in Joshua Tree during two visits in the winter of 2023. I had been to Joshua Tree plenty of times before, but these two visits were enlightening and special. During the first visit, I noticed more than ever before the abundance of life in the desert. The harshness of the desert feels muted here, as forests of joshua trees spread as far as the eye can see and ecosystems of plants flourish between the volcanic boulder fields.
On my second visit, I was lucky enough to experience a snow storm in the park. Though I only had a few hours to enjoy it, I knew that what I was experiencing was special. It revealed new ideas, emotions and sensations that I had never experienced in the desert, making me fall in love just a little bit more.