On the wall: Fontenelle


Opened April 11, 2015
Fontenelle Forest Nature Center

Artist Statement:

"Going to the woods is going home." -  John Muir

The act of walking in the woods is one that needs little explanation but begs for infinite description. Just as John Muir wrote, it does take us home to a nature that we do everything to defy and ignore in attempt to separate us as much as possible from the wildness that we've paved over in just a few short centuries. The woods are where we go to escape the pavement, to ponder our modern  existence and to open our minds to things that (along with us) have taken millions of years to become what they are today.

My time at Fontenelle Forest, a private nature reserve in Bellevue, Nebraska, began on a whim, a chance Saturday morning exploration of somewhere I had never been. That chance turned into a challenge and a passion, a desire to move beyond what I typically photograph and create an intimate portrait of singular location. Fontenelle Forest itself is hardly singular; it is a mix of upland forests and floodplain wet lands, of small details and large landscapes. Over the next year I visited every mile of trail at the forest, taking it all in and allowing myself to be changed by this place.

Fontenelle led me not only to discover nature but also to meet tremendous people and to find a career that I love. I owe a lot to this place, to these trees, to the little surprises that can be found when a person looks hard enough. In short, Fontenelle Forest has become my home, and an amazing one at that. I hope this collection of photographs reflects that.

Fontenelle will be on display at the Fontenelle Forest Nature Center in Bellevue, Nebraska throughout May.


An exhibition: Fontenelle

I've talked here and there in this blog about my on-going Fontenelle project. The project is a series of black-and-white photographs depicting Fontenelle Forest, a private nature reserve located in Bellevue, Nebraska that was founded in 1913. It's a documentation of a walk in the woods - landscapes and intricate details, changing seasons, and the process of getting to truly know a place.

Twenty images from Fontenelle will be on display at Fontenelle Forest's Nature Center beginning on Saturday, April 11th. The Nature Center is located at 1111 Bellevue Blvd North.

Visit fontenelleforest.org for more information.

First, a little back story to how all of this came to be...

I wandered onto Fontenelle Forest's flood plain on a chilly Saturday morning in early October, 2012 without much of a plan other than to get out of the house for a little while. The photographs and landscape immediately resonated with me and I began the task of exploring every single mile of trail in the reserve. By the next summer, the foundation of the project was firmly in place.

In a random twist of fate, I needed some volunteer hours for a class I was taking and received an email from Fontenelle Forest to its members looking for volunteers in July of 2013. Volunteering lead to an internship and a permanent communications position followed. I've now worked at the forest for over a year.

The result is a series of photographs that has become very personal to me in a lot of ways. 

As you may notice, the subject matter is very different from everything I've done to this point. This has been both exhilarating and terrifying for me. On one hand, I feel it's very important to push ones' self artistically rather than continue to just stagnate and keep reproducing the same thing for years. On the other, I feel as if I've established a very identifiable aesthetic that has grown with time, and that aesthetic does not necessarily lend itself to a large series of natural subjects. In the end, I've sided with growth and feel as if the challenge and experience of making Fontenelle has changed both me and my work for the better.

Planning and creating the exhibition has been very rewarding as well. I've been digitally printing black and white for the first time and really love the results. Everything has been done using archival materials, from the pigment inks and Hahnemuhle FineArt Baryta paper to the mat board and mounting materials. All photographs will be available in two sizes: 12x15" matted to 16x20" and 8x10" matted to 11x14" (smaller prints on Ilford paper). Pricing will be determined soon.

I'm excited to share this creation with the world and hope everyone gets a chance to see the exhibition. We'll have a small artist's reception in the coming week as well.