With my camera, I explore the wildfire crisis’ devastation and beauty that is transforming my spiritual and physical home - California’s Sierra Nevada. The images in this ongoing series result from my evolution of seeing fire - from a place of fear to one of fascination and reverence.
I watched from my home as the 2013 Rim Fire torched nearby hillsides, forestland and wildland urban interface as it encroached upon our neighborhood. The wildfire threatened my family, a lifetime’s collection of work and our remote rural community near Yosemite National Park.
As a photojournalist, I initially focused my work solely on helping residents understand the dynamics of wildfire, hoping it helped them make good decisions for themselves and their families. I continue those efforts, and I search for moments that memorialize the Sierra Nevada landscape, explore the power and kinetics of fire and honor the fearlessness of the souls protecting our communities.
In the ten years since documenting my first wildfire, I’ve trained alongside firefighters, received Wildland Wildfire certification and have been evacuated from our home on multiple occasions.
There is a common saying in our rural community, “Not if, but when.” When I moved to the Sierra Nevada 20+ years ago, we had a fire season. Our way of life is now under constant threat.
As I continue to bear witness to a wildfire crisis, I hope the imagery conveys my experiences with mesmerizing metamorphoses while allowing space for the abstract.