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An Unfamiliar Portrait of the Familiar

Through a photographic lens, I studied the place I am most familiar with—my home of Grand County, Colorado. In an effort to see my home through an unfamiliar lens, I photographed places I had yet to explore in my 22 years of life. I did 30 new hikes and discovered cemeteries and other historical pieces of my hometown, which I documented with digital photographs. Those photographs were then brought to life through the process of cyanotypes. The creation of a cyanotype involves applying a photosensitive chemical mixture onto hot press watercolor paper. After creating a negative from the original photograph taken, they are printed out on transparent paper. The image from the negative is then transferred onto the coated paper and when exposed to sunlight, results in a dark blue colored photograph. It was in the middle of this process when the East Troublesome Fire started. The fire affected places I had already photographed as well as places close to my heart such as my great grandma’s ranch and my grandpa’s campground. I then photographed some of the places that were affected by the fire, first digitally and then through the process of cyanotypes. This whole process allowed me to reflect on the meaning of home and discovering new elements of a place I had thought I had fully explored. Similarly, how the process of cyanotypes changes the same image to look slightly different, I was humbled to learn how my hometown will inevitably go through changes as well.