ARTIST STATEMENT: MY WUI
The Wildland-Urban Interface, or WUI, refers to places where an increasing number of people live, including my own “neighborhood” in Colorado’s Front Range Mountains. Here humans and wildlife live in close proximity with one another, and natural disasters that would otherwise be welcome—wildfires in particular—are prevented at great cost. In the western WUI, the main concern is wildfire, though my main concern is living close to nature.
I choose to live far from heavily populated centers; although I know this brings dilemmas; for instance, “If everyone did it, we’d have no wild places left.” From the time of westward expansion, this has been the case, but like many early settlers, the further from humans I live, the closer to my own authentic humanity I feel. Living where I do, I see intimately the intersection of humankind and the more-than-human world (the land and its non-human inhabitants). It is these intersections that I study in this series of images, all made close to my own back yard.
People living here navigate daily life alongside other large animals—elk, deer, bears, mountain lions, fox and coyotes; we see evidence of life cycles every day in new births and fresh kills; we embrace the seasons and the varied difficulties they bring. Many who live here are great stewards of nature, and we see how others who live here, and the tourists who pass through, do not respect the balance we have tacitly promised to keep. I see the irony and waste in attempts to make living this place more “suburban”, and the cost of human habitation here on the land and its original, non-human occupants. I also see great nurturing on the part of humans toward wildlife, and evidence of sincere attempts to sustain a level of pristine nature that is already lost. All of these things are part of living in the WUI, and their visual indicators are important reminders of what we have been given, and what we have to lose.
All images in MY WUI are digitally captured, processed and printed with archival pigment inks on fine art paper.