The genesis of Enraciné was more an existential epiphany than an artistic concept for Vancouver-based photographic artist Desirée Patterson. The series of photographs began after she had a powerful inspiration to create personal, rather than commercial work. Desirée revealed that her discovery of an overwhelming “sense of the profound miraculousness of the universe” spurred a newfound pursuit of an authentic voice, and a desire to advocate for environmental sustainability and to “create work that spoke to my concerns.”
Born in Langley, British Columbia, in 1982, Desirée grew up in the bucolic Fraser Valley, a two-hour drive from Vancouver. Outdoor recreation with her father was a regular feature of her childhood, which she fondly recalls. With that seasoned experience, she later became a divemaster and a rock climbing instructor. Her continued exposure to the raw landscape helped her discover an important personal connection to the awe-inspiring beauty of B.C.’s coastal environment, and nurtured her awareness of the wonder and perfection of nature.
Years spent pursuing mountain sports in Whistler, B.C., informed her sense of the delicate balance of humans and the environment, a concept she would later contemplate through meditation and art. Within the digital photo collage in her Enraciné series, Desirée combines inverted urban compositions with rugged landscapes to represent human consciousness as rooted in the industrialized world. “Our interaction with the environment is a precarious balance,” she explained, “and being a visual artist is the loudest voice I have to raise awareness of our responsibility to maintain that balance.”
Compelled to spread sustainability awareness and to promote effective stewardship, Desirée relies on an Albert Einstein quote, "No problem can be solved by the same kind of thinking that created it”-- as well as the law of attraction. “Positive attracts positive,” she believes, and “encourages curiosity and seeks underlying beauty.” With these motivators, her search for solutions to urgent global environmental issues challenges her thought process and produces new aesthetic forms expressed in her photography. Currently, she is focused on sea pollution and its grave threat to marine life.
On reflection, Desirée provides this caution to photographic artists: “Be careful of your sense of validation, or what you perceive to be forms of validation. Don’t let social media consume you or your practice. Know what you want – there will always be ‘wants’ – but accomplishments, setbacks, and rejections need to be equally welcomed. They are all part of the journey. Be authentic, and it will define you as an artist.”
Prints in the Enracine series are available in three sizes, transmounted on plexiglass, in limited editions of twelve.
By Peppa Martin for PhotoEd Magazine Winter 2017 Edition