In the February of this year, it snowed heavily in Central and Eastern Oregon. It made it difficult for me to continue my work as usual. Many locations became inaccessible and the weather conditions were difficult to shoot in. However, I was able to travel out on two occasions, on the first trip I went to Mitchell in Wheeler County, (Pop. 120). I didn’t produce much work on this visit, but I did strengthen my relationships with the community there. I don’t know if any of the images I took on this trip will appear in my final series, as the snow makes them very different aesthetically from the rest of my work. I have made prints of what I consider to the stronger images, and I will place them alongside my other images to see if they might work together.
On my second excursion, I traveled to Dufur, the town in which I have a strong connection with a number of residents. Two of my previous subjects offered to show me their firearms, and I had my first experience of shooting a gun. The prominence of guns and gun supporters in Central and eastern Oregon has become very apparent over the course of this project, and I do want to better understand gun culture. On the day that we took these photos, I was made to feel safe, and I know that I was in the company of responsible gun owners. Coming from England, firearms are still a foreign concept for me. I have conflicted feelings regarding them, as I whilst I understand the dangers, I have also learnt what a huge importance they have to many rural communities. Due to this, I think it is important to represent them in my work, and I will continue to learn more about them as my work progresses.