I have just left the dunes of Namibia. I have now been on over a hundred expeditions. I have been saying hello and goodbye to animals the past twenty years and I often look back with laughter and sadness when I leave my animal friends. Perhaps in some way with every animal collaboration I felt changed as soon as I said hello. I don’t feel as if I am telling them a story, but rather that they are helping me to find a story and in doing so my own story is constantly being rewri
tten. By trying to build a bridge to another animal’s dreams, I am also trying to connect them with our own. Nevertheless, even after years in the desert, savannah, jungle, or at sea, it still always feels like I am taking an ax to my heart when I finally have to leave. It’s supposed to be a delicious animal goodbye but it’s always difficult to find the good in goodbye.
I’m now collaborating with dolphins off the coast of the Bahamas. Dolphins are live and agile like violins unlike manatees whose shape evokes cellos and soulful songs, but one shares a similar quality of intimacy with both creatures under the surface of the sea.
On the bottom of the sea the sand ripples like the dunes of the desert and I knew that my next journey would take me to those vast arid seas.
An elephant with his trunk raised is a ladder to the stars.
A breaching whale is a ladder to the bottom of the sea.
My photographs are a ladder to my dreams.
As I dove, a pod of whales gathered around me. Warm shafts of sunlight streamed down as if through stained glass. The whales scissored the water with their pectoral fins and cocooned my body in air bubbles. They fanned and rolled me in their tail flukes. I felt as if I were falling weightlessly upward.
I could feel the rhythms of the sea.