HILLARY JOHNSON PHOTOGRAPHY
  THE WATERS WE SWIM IN
 
  EDITORIAL: HONG KONG
  HONG KONG: VING TSUN EPICENTER
  CHICAGO: WHERE LAND AND WATER MEET
  OAXACA
  ONLY THE FIGHTERS HERE
Chicago IL

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

This work is informed by my vipassana meditation practice and the ways it informs how I see our planet, not as dead rock but a living network of systems (Gaia principle) in which all things are interdependent and sentient, with capacity for self correction and refinement. We are in a time now in which we will eventually see if the excesses of human interference may have pushed the capacities and bounds of this life giving system too far for continuation of life on planet earth. This work is an act of witnessing changes unfolding  in a single location on Lake Superior in Wisconsin, over the course of years; an act of love, an expression of awe and grief at the many losses, land and trees falling to their watery graves. 

My selection of a subtle black and white palette making the most of the middle tones, my insistence on minimal manipulation in the editing process, the photos are more portraits than landscapes, which invite the viewer in to have their own emotional, existential experience in contact with the delicate beauty in a state of rapid disruption and destruction. Though most of the images are made digitally, they call on aesthetics and philosophy from Song dynasty landscape painting, the transcendentalism of Emerson and paintings of the Romantic period, particularly the work of  Caspar David Friedrich. Much as Rothko sought an experience of healing in the act of painting and in the moments in which the viewer is in communion with the work,  I have similar hopes for this body of work. That contact with these images may plant seeds for an awakening, a shift in consciousness through contact with beauty even in the midst of collapse.