Dispersed Camping Tree Stories

This upcoming photographic series is dedicated to the trees I have seen on my recent adventures in the dispersed camping areas of Oregon. Most of this series will be shot on film, but I thought I would include a few digital photos to give folks an idea of the project.

Packing up our belongings, storing some but taking much of what we own with us, my husband and I decided to leave Portland and explore many of the back roads and remote areas along several key rivers. We travel and camp along these by-ways, trying to re-discover ourselves, searching for ideas and examples of “Home” in the forests and habitats which many other species dwell. I will be documenting the condition of the trees where we camp each night.

I was first intrigued by modern human artifacts when I embarked on a solo coastal backpacking trip a few years back. My curiosity grew to concern, however, after finding so much trash and seeing so many trees damaged in many back-country camping areas. My worry is for the health of the trees and our species alike. What does it say about us humans that when we venture to a peaceful setting, we shoot, stab, cut, chop, stake, carve, tie and strip the very forest area we go to enjoy? Is it our supposed separation from these environments or ourselves that makes it easy to do this? Is it frustration with our plastic over-working economic gain-based world? Is it just as easy to pound a stake into a tree as it is to dump paint or old tires into our water sources? Do our constant heinous logging techniques make these actions pale in comparison, or just illuminate an overarching colonial attitude of conquer and control? I don’t believe we can categorize this behavior only as pure thoughtlessness or drunken irresponsibility. In the coming months, I hope to find out through investigation and tree stories, just what these cruel messages can teach us. At the very least, bring some of the behavior to light, in a sort of ‘ground-truthing’ photo experiment. More to come…