Eirik Johnson on Sawdust Mountain
Watch an excerpt of Eirik Johnson’s talk last May on his new book Sawdust Mountain at Aperture Gallery. In this clip, Johnson tells the story of Missy, an eighty-eight-year old artist who has spent all her life in the Washington state area and grand-daughter of one of the first white settlers in the Northwest. Missy represents the connections between the past, present and future of this changing region.
Sawdust Mountain is a culmination of four years photographing throughout Oregon, Washington, and Northern California. A Seattle native, Johnson focuses in this book on the tenuous relationship between industries such as timber and salmon, reliant upon natural resources and the communities they support. Johnson reveals a landscape imbued with an uncertain future—no longer the region of boomtowns built upon the riches of massive old growth forests, at a turning point to protect its natural resources extensively exploited over the last century. Through a poetic approach, Sawdust Mountain records a region affected by historic economic complexities and, by extension, aspects of our fraught relationship with the environment in the twenty-first century.
Johnson also discussed his previous photography projects that lead to Sawdust Mountain and read a poem by David Guterson included in the book, while going through his images before answering questions from the audience.