Monday, January 21, 2013


I drove my car through the trees, weighted heavy with snow. I do love the West more than I could tell you and I am learning, for the first time in 22 years, to love the snow. These were things that I thought as I twisted the wheel all the way down to my second family's cabin, nested in the Tetons. We made pizza from scratch with basil, mozzarella and tomatoes. We picked xc skis from the beams above the stacks of logs, set to keep the wood stove going. Their cabin has Tibetan prayer flags hanging in the kitchen, pots and pans stacked and loaves of homemade bread ready to eat. I always feel like I'm coming home when I'm there. 

I learned about crab fishing and sailing. We watched a moose watch us from the willows. We went snowshoeing through the deep snow until the top of a ridge, where the sun was setting behind the mountains. I went walking early in the morning when the fog was rising on the Snake River and watched the dark water move like heartbeats. I left this morning, but only after I sat at the top of a hill, staring straight at the Grand Teton and watched the sun come over the horizon behind me and turning the Tetons pink and yellow with morning.

Things are good here. 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

To just go.

I think it started on my 22 birthday, while I was standing in an irrigation field in Pavilion, Wyoming. Pavilion is just a small blink of a town and I hadn't even told anyone I was turning another year older.

The sun was rising as I walked through the field, causing the frost to melt under my boots. Veda ran ahead, scaring up a flock of birds. I pointed my camera ahead and clicked the shutter as they swarmed up and then settled again in the grass. I think that photograph is one of only a handful of creative images from the Fall.

I remember sitting in the field, having a really hard conversation with myself going something along the lines of, "okay, Becca. How long do you really want to live on pasta and toast? Are you really excited to be poor and lonely for the rest of your life?" Because when the loneliness and lack of funding starts to add up, you start to question the validity of your efforts.

I had a couple of great jobs planned and in a matter of days, it all fell apart and life kind of kicked me in the back of the knees. I kept trying to produce images I loved and nothing was translating the way I wanted it to. I kept pressuring myself to make money and be successful and plan a big expedition and all of that culminated into a big knot that was in the way of the creativity that wasn't flowing because of all the pressure. You can see, it's a terrible cyclical effect that only results in continued frustration.

I think all 20, 30, and maybe 40-something's fall into the question of "what do I want to do with my life," so in no way do I think it's unique that I'm having those concerns, too. For me, it's come in  answers of slivers of light between trees and fast car rides to chase the sun before it goes down. The universe answers me in sagebrush plains and good conversations with people I am just starting to know.

The moments that I let that pressure go and was shooting photographs, just to create photographs for myself, were the only ones I truly love from the past couple months. I guess, I feel like you have to be in the right place at the right time to catch the greatest things, and I just have been missing them because I've been in a tunnel vision of making money trying to "make it" as a photographer. And looking back on the pressure-less moments, those are the images that make me really feel like the loneliness and peanut butter tortillas and early morning, grueling hikes and lack of funding are so unimportant that they don't even exist.

All of this to say, I've had some really, really wonderful conversations lately that have put me back on my feet.

I remember sitting in the Denver airport in the early summer with Aaron Huey, talking over lunch about how he got started and the beginning of his career. He kept telling me to just go. To travel and shoot and maybe go into debt a little, but if this is what I want, then I had to make it happen.

Realizing this is a theme in my most recent conversations, I need to just go. To try to let go of the need for constant creativity, and embrace that things aren't always going to happen. I've been waiting for things to fall into my lap when really, I need to find them. The only way I know how to do that is to travel, so it looks like that will be the plan for the Spring.