Bolinas
Project info

This project delves into communal life among my peers for whom there has b een a resurgence of back to the land ideologies. Initially intrigued by the significance of this social movement happening through the country, I wanted to explore further ways in which individuals shape their own understanding of self within the context of coherence among others and among the land.

Bolinas is an unincorporated and largely off-the-grid community in Northern California. Resting precariously on the coast of the Pacific, dirt roads with hand-painted signs mark the pathways between a notoriously reclusive population with a rich cultural and agricultural history dating back to the 1920s, with a flowering in the late 1960s after the Summer of Love when with the collective effort to clean up after an oil spill. The ecological disaster threatening this fragile place is what brought the people of Bolinas together then, their desires to live an intrinsically shared existence and closely to the land on their own terms is how they decided to stay. There are no longer any true communes in town but that same mentality of perpetual exchange and engagement still persists. My point of entry was through a childhood friend who started sharing a home with seven others in late 2008. Over nearly two years I made many extended stays living with this coven of young women.

I was struck by the intricacy and complexity of interconnectedness, the near seamless relationship between humans and nature, the invisible web binding moments together. With the photographs I pay respect to the life choices they are making but also ask why people desire to go to the land to create and carve their own alternative path? What makes a place a home and how do we truly define what home even means? Is the life lived one they are running to or a site of safety and an escape from a life they are running from? With my camera I visually investigate the convergence of reality and fantasy, the manifestations of memory, the myths of identity, the near religious connection they all have with the hauntingly enchanted landscape of this wild and mystical place straddling two geographic plates, the past and the present, and two worlds.