Kayla, one of our fellow honeybees, has recently migrated from the Midwest to the west coast to pursue a graduate degree at the San Francisco Art Institute. Below are some of her thoughts on landscape and memory as well as some images captured during her journey west.
Three months ago I packed up my car and set out to the west coast. I was so excited to start something new in a place that many of my photographic idols once resided. Within these short 3 months I have had expectations shot down, quite a few life lessons learned but most important a better understanding for why I create.
As I was traveling on a highway I had been on only twice before, I felt as if I was seeing it all for the first time, and in certain ways I was. Following the I-40W signs came with the intentions of moving, not just site seeing. I had my mother with me this time, reliving a tradition we haven’t practiced for 14 years. The last time just the two of us road tripped we didn’t have custom playlists and she had to do all the driving (but she’s always had the best damn co-pilot, let’s be honest.) Because this was new to her, it was new to me. Being on the road together reminded us of the places we had visited years ago, the many times we got lost but managed to find our way, and all the silly jokes we still laugh about just as hard as the first time. It’s always been really great to look back at those times, but to continue to add to those memories by creating new experiences in new environments. So much of my need to photograph the landscapes that I’m immersed in stems from these trips my mom and I would take. Being so amazed at seeing a new part of the earth I’ve never seen before zip past us as we drove by. Annie Leibovits shared a similar experience by saying “… We saw the world through a ready-made picture frame, which was the frame of the car window. That was how you saw the world.” There has always been this connection, a pulling force to the landscape experienced through a car window. As I continue to drive, I think about what that experience meant to me as a child, and now as an adult. I’ve always been curious as to that else is out there, who else has been on this very piece of earth that I stand on, and how does my memory, along with the memories of others, attach itself to land? Or does the land create the memories? I think there is an extremely interesting tie between the landscape and memory, believing the land does more work than we may give it credit for. And knowing that new landscapes can ignite memories of past landscapes, I want to capture these memories and experiences through the portraits of the landscape, believing the land holds more of an importance to the memory than possibly the experience itself.
I’ll soon set on another drive back to Ohio, with someone I absolutely adore, feeding memories to a landscape we, together, have never seen before. The plan is to shoot as much film as possible, (I’ve been stock piling for this occasion) and to really enjoy our time experiencing a new environment.
The trek across this beautiful land has been nothing short of rewarding and this is just the beginning. I’ll now set on an exploration of the vast landscape, experiencing and capturing as many portraits of the landscape as I can.
See more from Kayla on Instagram at @kaylasuzanne or www.kaylasuzanne.com