It's a crime I've committed many times over the years, attempting to capture nature. Some might say that it's the quintessential role of humanity to be the perpetual parasite of the earth, to try and harness the beautiful beast's resources, as for myself (with the precious few iotas of untainted optimism that have managed to take hold in my mind) I would be inclined to agree with that statement. However, before arriving at the realization that I am but a member of the planet's plague, I used to be a hapless boy without a care in the world for the world; its creatures that scurried, scampered, and traipsed were the ultimate pleasure of my existence and I was the bane of theirs. I kept up a secret romance with nature's wonderful little beasties for as long as I could, hiding leopard geckos and hairy scorpions in my empty Lego crates, keeping king snakes and desert tortoises in totes I pilfered from my unwitting parents, and eloping to see my Earthy mistress with the regularity and nonchalance of a cup of morning joe. In hindsight what we had was far from the beautiful relationship predicated on mutual love that my young mind had envisioned, it was more akin to revolution, disobedience, and genocide.
Growing up on a ranch in the middle of practically untouched desert certainly played a large part in perpetuating my curiosity for all things scaly, slimy, furry, and feathery. The ravenous infatuation was nothing short of inexorable, when I wasn't lifting my strategically placed pieces of plywood to see what the "day's catch" would bring or exploring fallen trees, I was whetting my appetite with a copy of the National Audubon Society Field Guide to the Southwestern States; that book has pretty much every creature I could ever hope to see. I say that in the present tense because on long nights when the stress of the world gets to be too much I lean over to my bedside bookshelf and rifle through the familiar pages of nostalgia. I digress, the point is that my undying love for these living things that surrounded me was predicated on a simple logical fallacy. The premise that drove my carelessness was a pretty simple one; I figured that anything that could survive in such a harsh environment must be fairly hardy. A fairly unreasonable, albeit understandably rational error. The real reason why these creatures can live in this place is due to hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of years of evolution and specialization; they are so finely tuned to their surroundings that any sudden changes WILL affect them. Not grasping the beautiful fragility inherent in all things found in the Sonoran Desert, I held each animal captive in some kind of synthetic environment I deemed "better" for them, deprived them of their role, and changed the natural biological flow of the place that I loved so much.
Having fallen deep in the seemingly perpetual solipsism evident in humanity, I was lost in the starry-eyed throes of a deadly attraction; not for me but for the glorious symphony of life that surrounded me. I didn't gain the wisdom to fully realize my own destructive desire for many years, and that is something that deeply saddens me. There were countless organisms that were loved and lost under my careless care during that time. How did I escape the ingrained mindset? It certainly wasn't some cathartic revelation or a life changing event rather, as with most things I find, it was simply forced out by the strength of another love and hobby that took my heart completely. In concordance with this theme of humanistic behaviors; I had another mistress in the world and it was art, loved it since I was very young. After devolving into my teenage years I asked my parent for a simple tool for the expression of my MANY emotions, I asked for a digital camera. It wasn't anything special, wasn't even a real DSLR, it was a Nikon L-110. Being the tortured, it pains me to say, artist that I would seem to be today I HATE this camera; its a moody, 12-megapixel, glorified point-and-shoot that takes pictures the way it wants to. But, it got the job I wanted to done even if it wound up not looking anything like I wanted it to.
There it is in all of its lackluster splendor: I took up photography. After this I did the unthinkable, I introduced my two loves to each other and out of it arose a dysfunctional relationship that reflects both a lack of skill and a complete indulgence in mediocrity. In an attempt to avoid pretentiousness I will say that I am a perfectionist just like everyone else who says they create "art" and subsequently abhor most of my pieces. In light of that, this proverbial three-way between nature, photography, and myself has given me joy, and I am happy to say that I have given up capturing the creatures I love within plastic cages and have taken to capturing them behind the shutter of a camera instead. These creatures, this environment, the biology of this spectacular place has graced my life with such a magnificent splendor that I cannot convey or repay, and I hope that all the amazing things that I have come across in my time with this place might enjoy my meager attempts to display their beauty for others. In light of that, here are some photos of mine that I have taken over the years and a link to a page where I update my portfolio (irregularly):