HILLARY JOHNSON PHOTOGRAPHY
 
  CHICAGO: WHERE LAND AND WATER MEET
  OAXACA
  HONG KONG: VING TSUN EPICENTER
  ONLY THE FIGHTERS HERE
  WATER PORTRAITS
  PORTRAITS
  ANIMALS
  BRAND STORIES
  TRAVEL

THE PERSISTENCE OF VANISHING THINGS


"When you know that trees experience pain and have memories and that tree parents live together with their children, then you can no longer just chop them down and disrupt their lives with larger machines."

- Peter Wohlleben, The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate – Discoveries from a Secret World

I’ve been photographing this one specific place on Lake Superior in Wisconsin since June 2018. It’s a ten hour drive from Chicago. I go every month to make pictures here, to find my own peace of mind and heart and see my friends; the trees and the great lake.

The work is connected to my spiritual practice of vipassana meditation in which I’ve had direct experience of interconnection with all things, a knowing that all things are sentient, even the rocks and trees; of knowing the boundaries we make in everyday life are an illusion, as it’s said, a flash of lighting, a bubble.

Since beginning the project, the land has eroded significantly and experienced what are called Translational Slides, in which the top layer of earth and all that’s attached to it comes off in great sheets toppling into the lake below.

While erosion is a natural phenomenon, the pace at which this proceeds is not.In one year’s time, ten to fifteen feet of land has simply vanished, plunging into Lake Superior. Some days the ground literally falls away beneath my feet.

Some of the erosion is due to climate change, creating more frequent and severe storms, some of it may be caused by the presence of an invasive species of earthworm sold to fisherman for bait, which eat the soil faster than the land and trees can handle it. The land thins, water rushes through more quickly, the ground is unstable as a result.

Soon the road which takes me here may also be collapsing into the lake.