Inspired by long walks and extended backcountry trips on Washington's Olympic Peninsula, Mary Peck's contemplative photographs evoke the stillness and balance one can find by slowing down and simply paying attention. Neither idealized nor nostalgic, Peck's photographs point toward beauty and hope in a landscape that has suffered its share of environmental indignities, yet still carries the powerful mystery of wildness into an uncertain future.
Charles Wilkinson's illuminating essay traces historical attitudes toward land and water in the American West, and reflects on the now-outmoded laws that have governed development for nearly two centuries. With the impending removal of two dams, erected on the Elwha River almost one hundred years ago, wild salmon, long prevented from reaching upstream spawning areas, are about to return and restore their ancient runs on one of the most diverse and productive streams in the country.
Images and text afford us glimpses of the primeval power that still lingers in this wild place. Peck's meditations on the roadless ocean beaches, the emerald river valleys with their old-growth temperate rain forests, and the denuded hillsides urge the reader to acknowledge the less tangible values we must consider in managing our natural resources.
"Peck's approach is less to document the land than to experience herself as part of its living systems. Her exquisite photographs are the artist's attempt to share that process." —Tim McNulty