I spent the better part of my childhood around mountains. They pierced the smoggy skyline of my hometown in southern California, and in Colorado, the Rockies provided the snowy trails where I learned to ski. But these mountains were sparsely covered, dotted with small clusters of trees and rocky cliffs whose barren steepness unnerved me. There, I felt exposed, vulnerable.
In southern West Virginia, the mountains are thick with trees, vegetation, and rolling fog. The density is alluring, and as I navigate the tangled roads here, I feel cocooned, safe enough just to be.
As much as I’ve turned my camera toward the people of West Virginia over the past eight years, I’ve also turned it toward the landscape – to the mountains that form a constant, recognizable backdrop for love and loss, hardship and grace. To a place that envelops me every time I visit, and that takes me home within myself.