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“Instant Transcendence” By Jamie Swick

Antonina Gorbenko

We are living in a world that makes us feel irrationally crazy. Our reactions to the philosophical, moral, and popular cultures of society make those of us who use our observational skills to make rational deductions on the state of our planet feel alienated. We were sold a dream that consisted of families, careers, and homes that now, to the majority of young individuals, is unattainable. How can we possibly focus on becoming and remaining physically, emotionally, and economically healthy while at the same time acknowledging that we are living in a time of astonishing climate change? How are we supposed to enjoy a single moment of this beautiful blip of time we find ourselves inhabiting while our attention is constantly distracted with worry, anxiety, and helplessness about the earth and its inhabitants? Polaroid photographer Jamie Swick has discovered the answer. It may not be your answer but for her, it’s quite simple: master the ability to freeze time and obtain tranquility by combining the two powers in the world that have the ability to do so: nature and photography.

Swick’s environmental portraits of the Pacific Northwest, created with a Polaroid SLR680 and instant film, produce a distinct stillness that is undeniable. The varied colors and hues of her picturesque landscapes suggest a new era of environmentalism that isn’t fought by tying yourself to a tree, but by walking among them. She uses her camera as a catalyst to explore her local topography and become consumed by the world in a different way- not one of anxiety, doubt, and fear but of hope, beauty, and peace which provides a mental fortitude to the constant bombardment of unavoidable existential crises we all face. She has discovered that looking out into the vast wilderness of forests and beaches through your camera’s lens forces you to look inwards, a process of photographic mysticism. Even more profound is that you can take these weird scintillas of time and turn them into lasting tangible artifacts that extend their longevity into your daily life in times you can’t get away to find this peace.

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