As I write this, I’ve spent the last two months at college. College is always a big transition, especially when moving halfway across the country. I’m currently attending Western Washington University in Bellingham, Washington. I’ve traded in my beloved Lake Superior, the Sawtooth Mountains, and the tranquil lakes of border country for the rugged North Cascades Mountain range, the San Juans Islands, the smell of salt water, and verdant old growth forests. But if anything, this change in scenery has only made me appreciate the place I call home more. Washington is often described as one of the most scenic states in the nation, and while I can attest to that statement, my experience here hasn’t made me think any less of Minnesota. One is not better than the other, simply the way their scenery is appreciated is a bit different. Such a difference not only makes you realize how much you have, but also how amazing the world’s difference in landscape biodiversity and geology is.
It’s these types of topics I’m exploring in more depth in college. I am planning to major in environment or marine science which I think will draw on connections and interests I’ve cultivated during my time spent in the landscape and natural spaces. While photography won’t be the main focus of my formal educational pursuits, it certainly will be the thing taking up most of my free time. For me, photography is more than just a hobby. It’s a way of learning about myself, the landscapes I photograph, and also the connection between us. I’ve learned that photography has helped me learn how to celebrate and care for the places I spend my time in. It’s the inherent nature of the art form to focus on what is important to the artist which has allowed me to discover what I value and believe is worth protecting. Because of the reasons I’ve mentioned in this story and the others I’ve shared, I know photography is a passion that I hope to carry through my whole life. My love for photography is rooted in my original love for the landscape. The landscape can exist without my photographs of it, but my photography cannot exist without the landscape. I’m excited to be back in my home state soon, and continue to share and care for the places that hold great significance for me. I invite you to join me!