I am a third generation Montanan and have been greatly influenced by the land and the people of Montana. My parents loved nature, and as a child I spent many weekends in the mountains near my hometown of Helena, MT. My father’s parents were the only Grandparents I knew; they were both historians. My Grandfather Charles was a newspaper man, and my Grandmother Elizabeth wrote poetry and short stories. She liked to embellish a bit, so, from an early age, I learned to love a good story.
As an adult I married, and raised two beautiful children. After becoming a photographer in 1996, I started out to document the path my Great Grandfather H.H. Nelson had taken throughout his life in Montana. He was instrumental in a large irrigation project at the turn of the century, around 1900, called the St. Mary’s/Milk River irrigation project, and the Nelson Reservoir is named for him. This project was the largest expenditure congress had approved up to that point in American history.
While traveling around the state I began to ponder about the first peoples, their stories and how they viewed this landscape we now share. I did not grow up learning about the native peoples who lived near me in Montana, and I started to wonder, what their names were for these special places, and did they have stories about them.
The discovery of the word ethnography opened up a whole new world for me. I longed to know more about this history that had been all around me my entire life. It has become my passion to learn about the First Peoples of my state, and my art is an expression of that learning experience. I feel it is important to honor these cultures and retain the vital teachings and knowledge that is so beneficial to us all. I am a sponge, and I love to experience life and learn all I can about people and places, wherever I am. I hope to travel America learning about other First Peoples and their stories, beliefs, traditions and lessons.
I am an adventurer, explorer, story listener, storyteller and sight seer. I am in awe of creation and its many dressings. I hope my images make you feel curious and leave you with a sense of wonder and belonging to the big picture, the big story, the entire world’s history, and your history.