Out of Sight, Out of Mind

Shots from a hike up Burroughs Mountain in Mount Rainier National Park. Photographed by Jillian Raymundo.

There is something magical about getting away from industrialized areas of civilization. Immersing oneself in the environment is incredibly liberating. No cell service or other distractions to muddle the grand and beautiful natural world that we are all a part of. This is so easily forgotten in metropolitan areas where there are almost no traces of the natural world. For the first time in history the majority of the planet's human inhabitants live in these developed areas. What this means for our connection and appreciation for the earth and nature remains to be seen.

As deep black skies speckled with countless stars give way to glowing domes of light from our cities, are we losing contact with our world? Hopefully, as we pack ourselves closer and closer together in an effort to sustain our ever increasing population growth, we can also reinvigorate our appreciation and understanding of our deep connection to this planet that we call home. With any luck we will recognize that we are part of it, no matter where or how we live. Whether we live in metropolitan areas or rural areas people all around the world are part of one large interconnected system of which we are just one small (but increasingly influential) part.

While city life shrouds this connection in a deep fog, the natural world continues to operate within the confines of the laws of nature. If we continue on our current path, what will that mean for our future? How will our lives change, and will it be by choice or necessity? What will the world of tomorrow look like, and will the increasing rift between humanity and the natural world continue to widen? There is something to be said for the few remaining areas where the drone of a freeway or the sound of city life are unable to reach. As our species moves into cities at an increasing pace, some areas are given a brief respite and can begin to regenerate. However, fallow land is nothing but potential profit to some, and once reborn this land will end up as it was if not worse. In the United States, we are lucky to have a park system that protects some of our most treasured lands. Around the world this is a practice that is seldom utilized. Also, the few parks that exist in the U.S. do not make up for the amount of land that has been lost. Still, I fear as the trend toward city life continues we will end up losing something even more important.

Children growing up will never see a starry sky or a beautiful moonlit landscape. They will never escape the deluge of sights and sounds from the city. They will never take a breath of crisp clean mountain air. These children will never be able to gaze in amazement at a sweeping vista or seascape. Open plains and amber fields will be but images on screens struggling for airtime against reality television and the nightly news. It is troubling to think what will happen once generations come of age without experiencing or appreciating the natural world that we rely upon. Through no fault of their own they will be deprived of some of the most beautiful and inspirational experiences that have inspired some of the greatest individuals throughout history. Nature's ability to astound and inspire is unprecedented on any level.

This is where photography comes in. Though I always hope to craft a beautiful image, I also hope to inspire people to want to see what I have seen, and to go where I have gone. I hope to make people lust for these natural places and thereby reinvigorate the reverence and appreciation for our planet. In a time where digital media is so accessible and prevalent, a photograph can do so much. A beautiful image takes us to a different place and reminds us of what is out there. We are not confined to just our city or town, there is an entire world out there to explore. I hope in some small way, through one image at a time, I can help foster a mindset of appreciation and preservation toward our natural world.