I love hiking in far-flung natural spaces. It’s the simplicity of putting one foot in front of another and not having to worry about much else that makes me giddy with excitement. Growing up as an urban dweller, hiking in nature was not readily available. It’s not until I went to Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington (home to the world famous Walla Walla sweet onion), that I was truly exposed to untamed, unfettered wilderness.
As I became more intimately acquainted with the cult of the naturalist, I began to notice a strange phenomenon. Hikers would spend hours, days, or weeks to reach a far off vista and upon arrival they were often greeted by the hullabaloo of hordes of tourists who had driven their RV’s on a parallel road to the same place. And here these two groups would converge and behave in a similar fashion. Namely, they would photograph themselves in front of the beautiful something that was in front of them.
I have often wondered about this act of photographing oneself in front of something that is deemed to be of great import. Why hike for hours, days, or weeks … or in the other case, travel thousands of miles on planes, trains, and automobiles … to reach a place, take a picture, go back home and then put that picture on a modern day mantle?
For me, the beauty of a hike (journey) is not in the destination but it is in the means of travel. Time is irrevocably slowed down which allows my senses to better process the landscape around me. When I am walking I don’t feel as if I am moving past space, rather I feel as if I am moving inside of space. In other words, I am moving at the speed at which other things that are similar to me move. My Mapping project is an extension of this form of thinking. The only difference is that I am now hiking in urban concrete jungles instead of natural spaces.