The photographs in this collection are part of the Listening to the Land project and were gathered from the project-shaping exhibition With Rapture & Astonishment. The title for the exhibition was inspired by a quote from American artist, botanist, and ethnographer William Bartram, which he made upon reaching the summit of Wayah Bald in May of 1775. Here he “beheld with rapture and astonishment, a sublimely awful scene of power and magnificence, mountains piled upon mountains.”

The eleven photographers featured here were invited to explore a five-mile section of the Bartram National Recreation Trail in Highlands, North Carolina, for twelve weeks to interpret the same landscape that William Bartram encountered and wrote about in the 18th century. As members of the Kinship Photography Collective, a global community celebrating photography as a tool for making kin with the natural world and each other, they worked in the spirit of collaboration to cultivate curiosity, humility, and wonder while reimagining an ancient and well-traveled landscape.

Not only is this collection of photographs evidence of meaningful collaboration between the photographers, but it is also a celebration of community collaboration. Together The Bascom: A Center for Visual Arts,  the Blue Ridge Bartram Trail Conservancy, and the Kinship Photography Collective will be facilitating a nine-month Listening to the Land project, for which this collection of images is just the beginning. Through ongoing workshops, nature walks, online artist talks, and future exhibitions, photographers of all levels are invited to help create an archive of images that will bring to light the delicate and beautiful ecosystems that often go unobserved in public green spaces. Listening to the Land will embrace the exploratory spirit of Bartram while honoring the Cherokee people who have stewarded the land for millennia and continue to model how to listen to the land.

Participants in the Listening to the Land project will be offered the opportunity to have their photographs juried into an online archive and a community gallery exhibition at The Bascom in the Fall of 2023. For information on how to participate in this unfolding project visit the Kinship Photography Collective website. 

Featured artists include:

Beate Sass

Brent Martin

Eastern Red Cedar Jerusalem Artichoke and Canada Goldenrod

Eric William Carroll

Erik Mace

Frances Bukovsky

Kaye Savage

Mike Belleme

Raymond Thompson Jr.

Susan Alta Martin

Susan Patrice

Yvonne Dalschen