Spiritual Forest - Olympic National PArk
It was always odd to me that one of the environments where I’ve felt most comforted and captivated was so hard for me to photograph. When I moved to Oregon, I fell in love with the forests and I couldn’t believe that such places actually existed outside of fairy tales. Not only did I get to witness these scenes, but I got to live within them. I battled my demons amongst the moss draped branches and narrow trails that weaved through sword fern and oxalis. I bathed in the golden light cast through the canopy of big leaf maples. My soul was rejuvenated by the cold waters that cascaded through moss covered rocks and around the trunks of giants who rarely felt the presence of a human. My eyes widen at the sights to this day, almost 18 years later.
Yet capturing them in a way that I felt lived up to these emotions was a frustrating task. For all of the peace and solace that forests offer, they’re very chaotic and unorganized places and I’ve found that, for me, finding sense in all of that clutter took a lot of looking inward. It’s telling that in order for me to find the simplicity in these scenes, I also had to find the simplicity within. I needed to connect with myself, find gratitude in my life, appreciate my occupation of that particular time and space, and open up my heart. I’ve found that by placing those things first I became more emotionally receptive of the things that the forest offers, to the things that elevated my soul. I needed to stop both running away from things, and towards them. Only then did I feel the true draw and compulsion to photograph in a way where the act deepened the experience.
This spring, over the course of several trips, I spent near three weeks in the forests of Olympic National Park. I had the blessing of spending meaningful time there with my love, my son, and my pup of twelve years who passed away in October of 2018. For me, that time spent with the most important beings in my life is the treasure. I didn’t make it a point to photograph. I often slept in through the morning light, watched the river when most others would be out capturing the scenes, and only wandered when I felt like I wanted to. The creative realizations, emotional explorations, and strengthening of personal relationships all happened amongst these photographs and they all mean something to me. I know that each was taken from a place of wonder and that many of these were scenes that repeatedly called to me, begging me to spend some time with them in a more intimate way.
I took many photographs during these trips and in time I’ll release more. But these were the photographs that I loved the most and the ones that bring me back to that place in my heart when I view them. I’m not a religious person, but I had many spiritual moments during my time spent in the forest this year. Here’s a small representation of it all.
Last updated: 12/13/18