Five Images That Remind Me What’s Important

Five Images That Remind Me What’s Important

From moments of shared humanity thousands of miles from home to the enduring beauty of our natural world, Drew discusses a selection of images that remind him to live in the present moment.

Lately, it seems that so much more happens on a daily cycle than ever before. Below, I’ve chosen images to share that can help ground me in the moment or remind me what’s important – or take me away to another place, highlighting something perhaps easily overlooked.


Haven from Dunes: Landscapes Evolving What struck me from my time in the desert of Namibia was how otherworldly it was, yet lifeforms persisted in unusual ways. We’d walk for miles without any live vegetation, then a sign of life would appear. To me, it was indicative of how mother nature has compassion for her own – particularly here in this image, where the sand dunes are sheltering this lone plant. It left a lasting impression on me on how nature can work in beautiful and surprising ways.


Convergence from In Transit – The day I took this photo I had woken up early and looked out the window only to find a fresh layer of snow blanketing the ground – unusual for early November – and almost by instinct I grabbed my camera and raced to the scene. With the thin layer of snow on the road and the dramatic clouds gently caressing the monuments in the distance, I pulled off the road to capture this image. Within ten minutes, the clouds had parted and sun melted the snow away. This was a fleeting moment on my long trip through the American West and I remember sitting there and appreciating it as well as all of the unique gifts I come across as an artist. It also reminded me that anyone should explore the world around them to see what nature has to offer, since so much of it can be ephemeral. There’s something so invigorating, yet calming, about this expanse of open road. Maybe it’s the idea of freedom and adventure, but also the cultural weight and sense of opportunity carried by an image like this.


Over the Rail from Sail: Majesty at Sea – This image may seem different from others in my work – but the ethos is the same as the rest of my subjects. The yachts I chose to photograph are feats of design that created a new frontier for sailing. Although they are older they are still very much the standard and there are only eight in existence. I love the chaos of the frothy foam below mixed with the man-made sheen of the boat and – finally – with the orderly sailor’s shoes draped against the hull. The trifecta of three different elements – design, nature, and human – are harmonious.


Innocent Waters from Shadows Alight: Portraits of the American West – When traveling throughout the National Parks system I was drawn to finding hidden gems like the waterfall in this image, and I’d often stumble upon scenes like this by pure chance. I wanted this series to be an intimate conversation with the landscape – sort of an homage to its untouched, idyllic beauty especially since the parks are in trouble ecologically due to budget cuts preventing their upkeep as well as other environmental factors. Even though I made this series in 2015, I couldn’t help but think about the romantic, exploratory compulsion early settlers must have felt as they made their way West. This was especially exciting since I had yet to photograph any part of the US, but when making this series I often felt like I was discovering eden right here in our national backyard instead of traveling thousands of miles to another part of the world.


Untitled 13 from Omo: Expressions of a People – No matter where in the world I am working with people, it always come back to one thing: the simplicity of the relationships we have with one another. I wake up to this particular image in my home everyday because it is such a real, universally recognized moment of shared humanity. Despite our differences, this represents the need for inter-dependency among one another, as well as the indescribable importance of the parent and child bond.

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