I am from New York. No, not the City; no, not Westchester. I am from Upstate, way upstate.
My ancestors came to New York from Ireland and Canada. They settled in Northern New York, the Adirondack Mountains, Lewis and Oneida Counties. I left New York State over 35 years ago, moved to the west coast thinking that I would never look back. This was not the truth. For the past twenty years I have returned to my roots, spending summers at my camp in the western region of the Adirondacks.
Northern New York is beautiful and harsh, bitter and sweet. It takes a hearty spirit to exist here. The winter is long and brutal. Along with the fresh air, the soothing sounds of wind, water, and birds, there is isolation. On the other side of the hardships and isolation there is an enchantment that draws me back to this wilderness, far from the concerns of contemporary urban and suburban life.
Edmund Wilson describes the essence and shares snippets of the history of this area in his memoir,Upstate: Recordsand Recollections of Northern New York. Like Wilson, I have a strong connection to this region. Each summer and fall I return to photograph the poetry and beauty that I see in the vernacular along the roads of Upstate New York.