23in60: Starting at the End

This last summer I took a trip I have dreamt about since middle school. The trip was sixty days traveling around the US by train (started in early April, ended in early June), stopping at various places along the way and spending a few days there. I took my Mamiya 6 camera and around 200 rolls of film. The trip was a lot of things, mostly amazing, but also challenging and not at all what I had originally envisioned when I started planning it. This trip became so many things for me that I have spent roughly the last six months struggling to figure out how to share about it. I still don’t exactly know how I want to do that, but I’m just gonna go ahead and start.

I’ve decided to start with the last big part of the trip, Glacier National Park. This was the perfect place to end the the trip. I spent my time here by myself in quiet reflection and the scenery made it easy to just sit and think. Every time I look back at these photos I still find myself slipping into relaxed reflection. So, I’m gonna use these photos once again for reflection, to help me start my conversation about the trip.

Originally I envisioned this trip as some big epic photo journalism project with a little part just being for me to enjoy it as a fun trip, the trip ended up being the complete opposite of that. The timing of the trip really changed what I got out of it, or at least what I felt I needed out of it. This trip became the celebration of the end of a long four year journey to rebuild my life. About four years ago I essentially lost everything; professionally I had failed to maintain my photo business, financially I had nothing, and a very important relationship had fallen apart. I was living in Washington at the time and had to move back to my home state of Colorado to lick my wounds and figure out what to do next. Very slowly I eventually started to rebuild and find my focus again, maybe some day I’ll share the specifics of that time but right now it’s not important. As 2017 started to creep up I suddenly realized I was in a position to pull off this trip, and I jumped at the chance.

Pretty quickly on the trip I realized I needed this to be more for me and less of a photo project, so I spent little time thinking of what photos I should take and more time just enjoying the experiences I was having. I still walked away with a lot of photos I liked, but definitely not the project I originally intended. I used the trip in general, but especially my time in Glacier, to reflect on the last four years. I thought about what lessons I learned from that time and I thought a lot about what were priorities for me moving forward.

I walked away from this trip with maybe not as many pretty pictures as I would of liked, but I gained a strong sense of myself and who I wanted to be (sound corny? Haha).

So I think that’s all I feel like writing for now. I decided I wanted this one to be a broad stroke introduction (I also decided to just stream of consciousness write and not copy edit much, so apologies for typos of ramblings).

As I post more about this trip and my photography in general, I will get more specific with the experiences and thoughts. I’ll even do another post down the line to talk more about Glacier National Park.


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