On one of my trips, an emigrant friend asked me to take a postcard back to her family in our country of origin; on the postcard was a photograph of the natural world in her new home. On its back was written, “I live here. A place similar to our home.”
Similarly, I remember a documentary, in which the filmmaker asked his grandfather why he chose Texas when he immigrated to the US. His grandfather answered, “Because the nature here reminds me of my homeland: the wilderness in Iraq is just as vast.”
The idea behind my Land/s series grew out of a fascination with these human-geographical narratives and their interconnection with my personal experiences. As with so many others, nature is what connects me to my homeland. It transcends borders and stays with me in my new living space; it is a base layer, a lens, an overlay; a tendril of wild fern sneaking into the frame.
The limitless reach of nature and landscapes – immune to cultural and political divisions – and the ways in which immigrants inevitably search out and reconstruct these topographies in a new, ostensibly ‘foreign’ land together tell a story familiar to all humans. Regardless of who we are, our lives are layered and richly textured with physical and figurative uprootings and migrations: in flight and at rest, we carry our homelands with us.