I grew up spending summers in southeast Arizona, and summers there meant day long walks in the desert with my father and stepmother. I was taught to keep an eye on the place where I was about to step. We watched carefully for rattlesnakes, sharp plants, and "treasures". Treasures were indexical signs of human presence in the landscape. They made the heat and danger worthwhile. Treasures were indexical signs of human presence in the landscape. They documented the waves of human presence in Cochise County, Arizona.
Located where Arizona, New Mexico and Mexico meet, Cochise County’s human inhabitants have always reflected its position at crossroads in geography and history. Ancient Cochise peoples gave way to the Apache people. Apaches encountered Spanish settlers and later settlers from northern Mexico. American immigrants introduced large ranches, mining, and the U.S. Army to the area, including Buffalo Soldiers, the segregated units of African-American soldiers whose presence in the west was overlooked by Hollywood narratives of the area.
The members of this melting pot each altered the landscape by building roads and structures, grazing native vegetation, digging into hillsides and leaving everyday garbage. To walk the hills around my parent’s home and “look for treasures” was to listen to an extended conversation about the land; a conversation of signs that is centuries old and still evolving.
This body of work attempts to document a tiny piece conversation. Its images record human alterations and collide them with images of the arid vegetation and unforgiving geology of Southeast Arizona. The stalks of agave plants and abandoned pit mines are equally important to this body of work. These images attempt to document human presence as a kind of landscape.