About the Project
In his book, Reading the Mountains of Home, John Elder contemplates lines from a Robert Frost poem as he hikes the Vermont mountains of his home landscape. Each chapter interweaves natural history, flora, and fauna of the region with lines of Frost’s poetry and events in the author’s life that took place during the year he set out to take these hikes. The work is contemplative and reflective in nature.
This is the type of creative work that we are interested in embarking on as our family spends a season living within the boundary of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument in southern Oregon. Instead of a text-only literary book, as Elder made, our work will combine photography, writing, illustration and multimedia. We are eager to learn and respond to this special, highly diverse convergence of ecoregions–as it exists right now in this sliver of time from January to June 2013.
We also recognize that in some sense, the Monument is an unfinished project. Old growth forest adjacent to the CSNM is still at risk. There’s still preservation work to be done, and we wish to convey a sense of that vulnerability and fragility, too.
Anna Maria Johnson and Steven David Johnson
Anna Maria Johnson
Anna Maria Johnson’s writing brings together her diverse interests in the visual arts, science and nature, family systems, and spirituality. She studied fiction and creative non-fiction at Vermont College of Fine Art (MFA July 2012), where her critical thesis explored image patterns in Annie Dillard’s Pilgrim at Tinker Creek (thesis published in Numéro Cinq). Her short stories and essays have been published in The Doctor T. J. Eckleburg Review, Numéro Cinq, Ruminate Magazine, Blue Ridge Country, DreamSeeker Magazine, and The Mennonite, as well as in the anthology, Tongue-screws and Testimonies. She is a contributor to Hothouse Magazine. Anna Maria writes, gardens, and makes art along the Shenandoah River’s north fork, where she has lived for seven years with photographer Steven David Johnson and their two daughters.
SteveN DAvid Johnson
Photographer Steven David Johnson is on sabbatical leave from Eastern Mennonite University where he has taught Visual and Communication Arts courses for the past seven years (MFA, Savannah College of Art and Design). Steve loves photography,whirlpools, literature, metaphor, form,salamanders, rivers, place, science writing, and vernal ponds. When not teaching, he’s often down by some river or stream exploring the natural world though the lens of his camera. He’s spending the 2012-2013 academic year in Lincoln, Oregon, collaborating on a series of photo essays about the ecology of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument with his wife, writer Anna Maria Johnson. Steve’s imagery has been featured in Orion, Newfound Journal, Ruminate Magazine, Rock and Sling, and Blue Ridge Country and has also appeared in National Geographic Traveler, npr.org, and The London Guardian.
Experience an multimedia overview of the project on Storehouse: