My wife was pregnant with our first child. I stood alone on the bridge that spans Rio Grande Gorge in Northern New Mexico and stared down. I crossed that bridge more times than I can count, bending, looking, and walking from sunrise until sunset.
I had set out to learn something with my camera about the bridge and its place in the social and physical landscape of the American West, but I found something more. Where the desert sun flattened surfaces and textures, creating a homogeneity of tone, I discovered the shadows. There were specific facts and a surplus of evidence in the dark areas the bridge cast into the depths of the canyon.
Confronted with the prospect of being a father to a daughter in America, I found clarity on that bridge. The perspective and landscape reminded me that death is infinitely present and possible. In a location with stakes that high, I could come to terms with the desires and secrets that make me. I didn’t go out west to discover myself. I went out west to parse my shadows. People, places, and things, it seems, are defined by the details they regularly obscure. This book and the writing that flows through it are a product of the things I found.