Help Fund Hal's Photo Project Utah
GROWING UP IN OREGON left an indelible impression on how I view the world, and the value of nature. Can you imagine what thousands of years has meant to the soul of Native Americans?
Since the Long Walk of 1864, and even before, the Navajo have been torn from their land and forcibly resettled, often as the result of a broken government treaty – but most always in the interest of exploiting their land and fulfilling a newly minted nation's “manifest destiny.” The latest threat to the Navajo, as to other First Nations whose lands are coveted by the petroleum, uranium and cattle industries, is the evisceration of Bears Ears and other wilderness areas as national monuments. While America’s energy independence is a crucial part of our growth and the country’s economy, what price are we willing to pay – especially when the high cost is the continuing erosion of immensely important Native American cultures, and of the families whose very survival depends on living in balance with the land on which their ancestors lived for those thousands of years.
This inextricable link between indigenous groups and their natural environment is something I’m interested in as a photographer, and as an active observer of the world’s many interesting cultures.
I'm planning to spend the month of May near Monument Valley, Utah, documenting the Navajo people and their connection to the land – and how rescinding nearby Bears Ears’ status as a national monument has a direct impact on their food supply, the sacred herbs they use for medicines and in ceremony, and the wood with which they build their homes and stay warm. This is one of my most important photography projects to date – direct action on behalf of an indigenous group in telling a story that now, more than ever, needs to be shared.
I'll be staying in a yurt near Mexican Hat, Utah, along the Navajo reservation, and plan to spend time with the family of a medicine man with whom I've become friends, as well as joining excursions into the Bears Ears wilderness area for the purpose of collecting firewood and other resources vital to the Navajo way of life. I'll be photographing daily, writing about the experience and occasionally uploading to social media so you can share the experience. I want supporters to know that their donations are providing a view for them into this special world as well. It is difficult to say how “successful” the photography will be, but it’s certain the insight gained will make the experience rewarding. Just the act of bringing exposure to this part of our country's surviving heritage is worthwhile.
Donations of $50 or more receive a set of 5 frameable 5x7 prints! Check out the other gifts of appreciation.
I've never tried to solicit money, so this itself is a trip – but only the first part. If you are interested in supporting me, a HUGE thank you! Please know that all donations are going ONLY to the following for this one-month photography project:
Lodging ($2,320 @ $77/Day)
Food ($300 @ $10/day)
Gas ($440 @ $200 RT + $8/Day)
* Besides this FREE gift for $50 and higher donations, smaller amounts are also appreciated ($5, $10, $15, $25) for those who'd like to chip in.
Again, a heartfelt thank you.
To see some of my other work, please visit: