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How has your youth/upbringing impacted your photographic style?

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I grew up in a small town in the Sierra Nevada foothills called Sonora. For most of my childhood we lived within spitting distance of the Stanislaus National Forest and my parents were really good about encouraging us to spend time outdoors. As a family we were consistently camping and hiking, and every summer we spent time up in the higher elevation landscapes along Sonora Pass. That’s where my first moments clambering around on granite were and where I started to build an appreciation for nature.

But it wasn’t until I went away to college at USC in LA that I got a great perspective check. Growing up in the woods feels completely and utterly normal and banal….until you’re not in the woods any more.

Living in LA, surrounded by concrete and cars and freeways, I realized just how much I needed to be in the mountains. That’s what helped drive my interest in hiking and backpacking, especially in the High Sierra.

Just as they tell writers to write what they know, I tell photographers to shoot what they love. When I finally got into photography in my mid-20’s I had already built this deep, beautiful connection with the Sierra Nevada, so it was only natural that my photography would become an extension of that.

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