Everything/Nothing: 001


Everything/Nothing: 001

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I took this photograph in Death Valley National Park, California. This was the first photo I took of this series of small humans in giant landscapes. I got the idea from visiting a gallery at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. A photographer had photographed a series of people running seemingly nowhere into vast, empty spaces. The imagery resonated with me instantly, and what’s more vast and empty than Death Valley? Thus began the Everything/Nothing series.

The Everything/Nothing series is partially inspired by Pale Blue Dot, a photograph of planet Earth taken on February 14, 1990. The photograph was taken by the Voyager 1 space probe from a record distance of about 6 billion kilometers. Carl Sagan said this about the photograph:

“Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there-on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.”

I wanted to take this idea but zero in on the individual self and our relentless pursuit of meaning. How does one make meaning out of a seemingly chaotic and uncertain world? So much of our meaning exists in our conscious and subconscious thoughts. Our lives can often feel ruled by our inner world. This world, completely isolated from everyone else, makes us the expert knower of one’s self, and for better or worse, we’re trapped in it. As the famous poet, Sylvia Plath, said, “Is there no way out of the mind?” Our thoughts can harness so much power and meaning, but only if we allow them to define us. Maybe the trick is deciding which thoughts to examine and which accept as background noise.


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