Nature, Balance and the Detective Novel

Development near Clear Lake, 2015 (from Uprooted)   © Kristine Heykants 2017

Development near Clear Lake, 2015 (from Uprooted  © Kristine Heykants 2017

I am a self-confessed junkie of murder mystery novels. Agatha Christie, Sue Grafton, Sarah Paretsky, Donna Leon and so many others have written stories that cater to my preferred literary functions: a) social commentary, and b) escapism .

My current binge-read is Tony Hillerman, the acclaimed raconteur of the Navajo Way philosophy. Analytical and traditional perspectives are played through characters Lt. Joe Leaphorn and Sgt. Jim Chee, officers in the Navajo Tribal Police. At stake is the importance of being in balance with nature, with all beings having their particular role to play.

Nature is a revitalizing remedy to the energy demands of our modern lifestyles. This post is dedicated to the love of nature and the balance it provides.

Uprooted to be presented in Washington DC

Tanna, Kyle and family, from Uprooted   © Kristine Heykants 2017

Tanna, Kyle and family, from Uprooted   © Kristine Heykants 2017

Photography, like the written word, does not exist inside the box of one discipline. An example is the extraordinary work of documentary and humanitarian photographer Eugene Richards. He has amassed a pile of awards from the heavy-hitters of awarding institutions: The Guggenheim Foundation, ICP Infinity Awards, World Press Photo to name a few. His pictures are represented by art galleries and the most prestigious museums. He has been know to accept corporate and advertising commissions. 

There is pressure for lesser-known artists to create a "brand" in order to stand out in a media-saturated world. This leads to my point: I'm going to Washington DC in November to present Uprooted alongside a group of academic researchers and artists in a panel on innovative visual research methods at the American Association of Anthropology's annual conference.

From this day forward: Brand be damned!

Meeting Lila

Lila, from Uprooted   © 2017 Kristine Heykants

Lila, from Uprooted   © 2017 Kristine Heykants

I spent time walking around Belmond earlier this month. People there tend to get around by car or truck so I felt pretty self-conscious, especially with my large camera slung across my shoulder. And yet I met some of the kindest people that day. After a friendly hello, Lila and I chatted about the weather and she offered me a drink of water. She told me about her family– her sisters in California, her husband, her children now grown with one still at home and working at the gasket factory down the street. She and her husband moved to Belmond over 20 years ago for work and to raise their family. Now that she's retired she doesn't want to leave. "I just got used to it," she said. 

The Heart of the Matter

Danilo, livestock worker, from Uprooted    © Kristine Heykants 2017

Danilo, livestock worker, from Uprooted    © Kristine Heykants 2017

My challenge when making a portrait is to provide a point of resonance between the viewer and the person in the picture. I hope the audience will recognize a likeness on an emotional level, allowing for a connection to take place. 

Historically photography has been used to highlight that which is different, new or novel. I aim however, to create a bridge with my pictures by showing ways we are the same. Danilo, the subject of this picture, was riding his bike toward me on the sidewalk. His trendy clothing, hairstyle and bicycle stood in contrast to the traditional house and well-manicured lawn in the background (a set from "Leave it to Beaver" comes to mind). He seemed both curious and guarded (as people often are when a stranger asks for a photograph) and yet there is an openness, perhaps a wanting to belong. I think everyone can relate to that.