Space, memories

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Photography, Travel

What I said about landscapes and their boundaries, seems to be true in this picture in particular. Perhaps because I’m looking at it with fairly fresh eyes. I just found it on my hard drive, where it was quitely sitting, waiting to be noticed, aware of its own modesty I presume. That happens a lot. But this time, I had no doubt that my neglect was unjustified. I remember exactly where this photo was taken, more than a year and a half ago. Along the road from Coldfoot to Wiseman, Alaska. Coldfoot, some 60 miles above the arctic circle, was the end of the world for us. A pool of mud with a diner, a run down motel, a post office and a gas station. With a hired RV, there was no way we could follow the dirt road up north much further than that. So, before returning to Fairbanks, we spent a couple of days in the area, hiking, and driving to Wiseman, some 5 miles from the Dalton highway, along the Fork Koyukuk river. Wiseman is a small miners community, with a population of 14 in 2010. Founded by gold miners who left Coldfoot in 1919. Not a very spectacular drive. I didn’t stop the car to take this picture, I took the picture because we were not allowed to drive any further and had to step out anyway. It was a good day. Finally grasping some of the vastness of this area, and feeling free as a bird. A bit relieved, also, to have made it to this point. I guess we both had been a bit nervous about these last 100 miles leading up to Coldfoot. A narrow, bumpy road with soft shoulders, dirt and rocks flying around, and huge trucks thundering along.

When you look at pictures often enough, they sort of detach themselves from the time and place they were taken. I like that, how a photograph becomes its own thing, and not just a representation. But of course, it’s always both. Speaking of the boundaries of a landscape, I like to call it space, that invisible part outside of the frame, but one could also call it memories.

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