Artist's Statement

Petra Barth

“Wanderlust” is a personal exploration of the Americas, a photographic journey where time and place are insignificant, but existence and recollection matter. Often I found my thoughts shifting to this past. When I talked to people and listened to their stories, I got lost in my own memories. The laughter of their children reminded me of my childhood. The homes I visited resembled what I had seen in photographs from my parents and grandparents who lived, for much of their life, in a country destroyed by war. The images in “Wanderlust” reflect where I have traveled, what I have seen, and what I have experienced. They reveal important moments in my life during a time of change and loss that led to a transformation: my acceptance of myself and of the freedom I have found. One bitterly cold day, standing on the bank of the Yukon River, I began to see the invisible. Human shadows, snowflakes, the river, a few dead animals, even a part of myself – there, through the lens of my camera, I couldn’t separate them. I lifted my eyes and found that everything I had just seen, distorted and distant, was gone, and the river was only a couple of feet away. Then I looked again, trying to discern what I was seeing. But it was impossible. It was a blur, layer after layer melting together. I took my camera and pressed the shutter, focusing on one little spot. And there it was again, compressed and blended into a single image. All an illusion.