“I’ve always felt a deep connection to nature, finding solitude and the ability to collect myself in the woods. Walking deep into a thick forest, wading in cool running water of mountain streams, or squatted on a remote beach, the natural world envelops me with a sense of peace and confidence that is unattainable indoors. Richard Louv describes this phenomenon in The Nature Principle as fulfilling our deficit of nature, our intense and physical need for connection to the earth. This made me question, how do I curtail my "nature deficit" in a technology-rich, work-driven world when life requires me to be inside for a majority of the day? How do I connect to nature when when the wilderness in inaccessible or gone altogether?
Where mountains once were, named after a chapter in Louv's book, is in response to consoling my nature deficit when being in the land isn't — or potentially won't be — a possibility. The images come from endless hours of watching nature documentaries, attempting to consume nature in an indirect way, prodding for some semblance of the emotional recharge I receive from being in the wild. More than a simple snapshot, it’s about that extended moment of stillness. It’s my attempt to still feel connected to the land that gives me breath and life.”
Crystal McBrayer grew up in the Appalachian mountains where she discovered her relationship with the land running through grass with bare feet, fishing the narrow creeks with sticks and twine, painting with flower petals, and digging her hands in the rich, black dirt. Following her love of science and art, she earned an MFA in photography from the Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, GA . Crystal has exhibited nationally and internationally, given lectures, and taught workshops throughout the country and is currently a working artist in Boise, ID and is the Director of Creative Services at Boise State University.