Text: Elizabeth Belts Kauffman
(page 1 of 3)
Reading is one of those guilty pleasures these days, cerebral vacations stolen despite a world bent on having the highest speed communication. Selfish as readers might seem, we prove they are a generous lot willing to share their indulgence with thoughtful abandon. We hope that taking some precious time to peruse these musings gives you some inspiration for future literary adventures.
Hailey photographer Michael Wickes is always looking for shots that tell a story.
“I’m a storyteller; I wander until I find my subject,” he says. And wandering is just what Wickes has been doing for the past year and a half; the result is his stunning new book of photographs, Utah, Moments in Time.
A 20-year resident of the Wood River Valley, Wickes got his start as a wildlife photographer. While photographing flamingos, Wickes saw these fascinating birds as part of a complex ecosystem that includes humans; this led to an interest in photographic stories combining both human and wild components. Wickes builds a story around people in their environment. “I don’t think in a single picture,” he says. “I tell a story with multiple images.”
Charles Kuralt’s books, A Life on the Road and Charles Kuralt’s America, speak to Wickes—both figuratively and literally. Because he spends so much time on the road, Wickes often listens to Kuralt’s books on tape. “Charles Kuralt brings passion and excitement to the ordinary,” Wickes explains. “He teaches us to feel special in our ordinariness.” For Wickes, Kuralt’s books have both provided lessons in the craft of storytelling, and taught him that “you’ve got to trust there will be a good story if you just listen.”
In addition to Kuralt’s books, Wickes is revisiting one of his favorites, West with the Night by Beryl Markham. A beautifully written autobiography about a woman’s life in Africa, the book also chronicles Markham’s historic solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean from east to west in September of 1936.
The books Wickes is drawn to reinforce what he does. “All of these books support my sense of curiosity and my penchant for wandering.”
From Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll:
In another moment, down went Alice after it [the Rabbit], never once considering how in the world she was to get out again.
Wickes included this passage in his book, Utah, Moments in Time, placed alongside the photo of a young Mormon bride. In the Field Notes section at the back of his book, he made his own observation: “Underneath the excitement and anticipation, this young woman seemed sobered by her time in front of the mirror. Maybe she had caught a glimpse of her mother as a younger woman, or maybe she’d been able to see her life as a Mormon wife unfold before her.” >>>