One of my current projects, Big Bend Country and the Golden Bounty, came to light when I was re-visited my images from a trip to the region several years ago and realized that it blended many of my interests; railroads, infrastructure, the economic backstory, inhabitants and the altered landscape. Looking through the images, I saw the basis of an idea that I wanted to explore further.
The Big Bend Country encompasses a large part of eastern Washington State and is geographically defined by the large swooping curve of the Columbia River. This region has an economy almost entirely based upon the production of wheat and the landscape has been transformed because of it.
Wheat has shaped this region and this project will show how it is economically and visually coupled. Not only has the landscape been sculpted to grow wheat; it has been transformed to support the farmers, communities, and infrastructure necessary to move wheat from field to market. The Northern Pacific was instrumental in developing the economy and the railroad still plays a vital role. The grain marketers built the largest man-made structures on this landscape, the silos and elevators to hold the harvest, next to the railroad which offers the most efficiency means to move it to market.
Between the farmer, the railroad and the communities, almost all the land in this region has been touched by man in one way or another and I want to document the relationship between them.
In future posts, I’ll elaborate on how this project progresses.