The Snake River & Settlement:
Views from Wawawai Landing
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Dennis DeHart: Artist Statement
For four seasons, I've visited the Wawawai County Park area and adjacent environs, whose known history includes ancient and more contemporary uses. Each season brings a different aesthetic to the landscape, ranging from hot, arid summer wheatgrass lands to crisp, wintery snow-covered hills. What remains constant is the abundance of sunlight dancing on the lake.
My visits included wandering along the Snake River, via the railroad tracks, west, towards the Lower Granite Dam. Each walk is a kind of journey, in which I intuitively trace the landscape with my camera. The camera invites a mediation on place, encouraging me to contemplate the contours of the land while moving through the changing environs. Each visit reveals a different reading of the landscape, informed in part, by the reviewing and editing of images made during previous visits.
Aided by historical photographs and the known history, I like to visualize what the landscape looked like before the flooding of the river plain. I also imagine what the environs will look like in the future when the dams are gone and the river is free flowing and wild again. It gives me hope. I have developed complicated emotions for the Wawawai, simultaneously celebrating the beauty of place while lamenting loss.
Dennis DeHart (b.1970, Oregon) is a photographic artist whose interdisciplinary projects are informed by the connections, conflicts, and intersections of the natural and cultural worlds.