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  • Charlie Janson

'Man versus nature' or 'Man in nature'?

It is often tempting to picture human "progress" as a constant battle to push back or subdue the natural world. Yet humans are without question a product of the natural world - we are Earth's children, along with so many other species. To deny 'human nature' is to deny our heritage and much of who we are. But, as nature has shaped us, so have we also shaped nature. As a photographer in love with nature, I have to deal with the fact that almost any place where I might find 'unspoiled' wilderness today exists only because humans have made a conscious

decision to preserve it. In fact, the concept of 'unspoiled' is largely a myth -- even the most pristine outposts of our current world (think Yellowstone National Park in the U.S., or the center of the Amazon basin) have been shaped by human activities, whether burning, farming, hunting or mining. I do not know where or how to draw limits between humans and nature, but old mining towns like Bannack ghost town (above) remind us that the interaction between us is dynamic, sometimes supportive and sometimes contrary. We are each a part of the other.

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