The American Wild West: A Story of the Gold Rush

It is not secret that I am grew up in the southwest. Now that I live on the east coast this is something that has seemingly crept into my personal identity here. It is also no secret that I am a fine arts major as well. So I thought today I would talk a little bit about my favorite project that I created this year because it combines the identity of the southwest with my love of photography.

To understand the piece of art that I created I will first share with you the assignment I was given from my photo professor. Paraphrased the assignment was as follows: "create a set of images in which you incorporate text". As most photography assignments are, this was incredibly broad. I could do anything I wanted as long as it A.) fit the required amount of photos and B.) used text in some sort of manner. My brained racked with ideas for quite a long time. Sometimes when projects are incredibly broad it slows down my creative process. I will admit I am quite the procrastinator when it comes to my photo projects, but its not to say that I don't submit excellent quality work either. It may have just been done the night before; as this project I am about to share with you was. However, sometimes I feel my best ideas come from these moments.

The due date for this project also coincided with my time in Arizona. Before leaving for my trip back home it was evident that I didn't have a solid idea started for my piece. An idea of doing a project about my hometown surfaced and another idea about doing something with horses came across my mind as well. However, I didn't love any of these too much. One thing I can admit is that I am incredibly hard on myself when it comes to executing my ideas. I will not follow through with a project that I feel is an easy way out and or doesn't excite my inner artist.

Without putting a great deal of thought in the context of my images and how they would all relate, I just simply documented as much as I could from my days in Arizona. Luckily for me, this was my boyfriends first time visiting the great state of Arizona so we did a lot of touristy things. We explored my hometown, Tucson, as well as heading down south to Tombstone & Bisbee, and we even traveled up north all the way to Page, Sedona, & the Grand Canyon. I had the opportunity to photograph almost every aspect Arizona has to offer.

The night before my critique, which I should say was at 6am, because of the time difference, I crammed to put all of the photographs into one cohesive piece of art. At first it felt like I was cramming different puzzle pieces together. I had pictures of landscapes, cowboys, cactus, horses, and so many other things. I wracked my brain trying to figure out how I could even include text into the images. I settled on using short poems from various authors. Somehow by the grace of God this project came together into something more beautiful than I ever intended on it being. So here I present my photo collection about the American Wild West: A Story of the Gold Rush.

The piece works to describe the Gold Rush that sent men out to west creating the modern day cowboy as well as the greed that came with their search for gold. I felt as though this piece was an accurate representation of the west and depicted a narrative that was worth being told through photographs. This is definitely a project that I would love to continue and craft to another level of perfection. However, I was very pleased with the end result of this work considering the work lacked utter meaning before I pieced it all together.

Overall I really enjoy being able to use this platform as a place to be able to talk about my creative pieces for more of my fine art work because it isn't often these pieces get the recognition that they deserve because I focus a lot of what I post around the brand that I am trying to build. I feel as though there are two sides to my photography. One of which I am trying to sell to other people, such as portraits, while I keep my fine art projects more to myself. However, I plan on allowing these projects to have their moment in display, and I think this blog is the perfect place to start.


Poem Credits:

  1. Robert Frost: A Peck of Gold

  2. Unknown Author: Desert Rainbows

  3. Unknown Author: Treasure Traces and Special Places

  4. Mike Hauser: The Restless Wanderer

  5. Phillip Camitses: Deserts Come and Deserts Go

  6. Unknown

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