Our Little Life
We are such stuff
As dreams are made on; and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep." The Tempest, Act 4, scene 1, 156-158.
As a child, I was fortunate to grow up in Canada, exploring Alberta’s gorgeous river valleys and Rocky Mountains. Many years later as an adult, I have visited California’s amazing state and national parks, as well as others across the country. Along the way, I’ve become increasingly interested in human beings’ perceptions of and relationships with nature.
Finding our place and role in the natural environment seems to me to be a deep, primal need. We are part of it, and yet, we often feel so separate and often, small in proportion to it. When I visited Arizona's Grand Canyon many years ago, I had a simultaneous realization that I was a tiny little being in the presence of this vast shocking crevice, AND that I was feeling a kind of calm reassurance in knowing that there was so much outside and beyond me. That place seemed ageless and old and solid. The various weights that had arrived with me on my shoulders seemed a little less weight with the wider, humbler perspective and gracious expanse that the canyon provided me.
As I've pondered that experience over the years, I have realized that in this century, our relationship with nature is complex and nuanced: we appreciate, protect, manipulate, use, fear, over-use, create, destroy and so much more the natural environment. It is both part of us and yet outside of us. It has its own power, and yet we wield ours over it in so many varied ways.
To draw out the mystery of our relationship with nature, in its complexity and beauty and scope, I offer my growing “Our Little Life” project. I seek to make images that involve a single or small number of humans within a much larger and beautiful palette of nature. With these scenes, I am asking my viewers to reflect on their place on the planet that is our home.
For some people, seeing just how small we are in comparison to that which surrounds us can be intimidating or fearful. I hope that others, like me, find a primal kind of reassurance and comfort in it. Our Earthly palace is indeed expansive! Either way, my wish is that you might rethink and re-see the natural world around us with fresh eyes.