Sunday, June 9, 2013

"Nevertheless there are certain peaks, canons[sic], and clear meadow spaces which are above all compassing of words, and have a certain fame as of the nobly great to whom we give no familiar names. Guided by these you may reach my country and find or not find, according as it lieth in you, much that is set down here. And more.”        Mary Austin, The Land of Little Rain

Moving through spaces, sending out signals, capturing data, inscribing the shapes of inter-relationships in which knowing ventures out or returns: this is Geography Walking.

Palouse Mntns

It was a mistaken landscape affinity that led me to contact Alec Finlay. Then an affinity for walking and photographing landscapes put me on the path to assembling the pieces that comprise Palouse Mntns. A word-mntn is the poem-label Alec makes – a tag with a string, printed on paperboard, with the name of a vertically prominent geographic feature written in a simple geometric shape. For Alec, this reminds us that “a hill is not its name” (you can read his essay and see his photographs here).

I made several excursions with camera and the labels Alec had mailed me with names of various buttes and mountains along the Washington/Idaho border, many unfamiliar to me by sight or by name. Like Alec, “The purpose of the hand-written place-names was […] to sketch an initial understanding of the terrain.” While his project  - with many excursions through different parts of Scotland - emphasizes distance, the process of “clarifying the skyline into names,” my own experience with photographing the labels got me thinking into the terrain underfoot as a site of relations.

Scroll Down to See the Excursions:

Palouse Mntn: Kamiak Butte II (June 6, 2013)