shapeshifter is a series that illustrates my first journey through the American Southwest, wherein I discovered a deep, hostile beauty. Using a plastic-lensed Holga camera, I advanced the film serendipitously after each take, creating unpredictable layered images. I have combined the resulting panorama of photographs with drawing and writing made during the trip as well as drawings made after the film was developed, scanned, and printed. The final form of this project is a handmade, hardback accordion book.
Photographs were made in 2012 and project completed in 2016.
"I dive into the canyon and begin to fly. Never have I soared like this before, not since my last flying dream. An infinite expanse of sun-blasted buttes and deep shadow gorges swells around me.
At the bottom of the well, the cliff’s stark beauty fills me with awe and anxiety. I am surrounded and alone."
We enter the American Southwest by way of canyons and mountains, rocks, dirt, and silty rivers. I have found comfort in the lush, green weather patterns of Northeastern summers all my life, but have yearned for this unknown. Dry, bare, and seemingly unforgiving, this monolithic landscape is beyond my comprehension. Remarkable, yet I’m unsure what to say.
Down we climb into the canyon, and up and up into the mountain. Visions blur by but never sink in past sad eyes. It is within this harsh and hostile land that I witness my inner demons awaken, slowly but surely, sulking through the senses. My parents are by my side, but I am most certainly alone, tormented by thoughts inconsolable. Where there is bright light there is deep shadow, and something evil lurks therein.
We climb to the top of the mountain, only to come back down. After dark, images of the grotesque, grandiose structures remain. My mind is filled with disquiet yet the red rocks are silent, their roughness still grazing my skin.
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