— In 2010, I was going through a very dark period of my life. My marriage had ended, and in an attempt to stabilize and ground myself, I moved out of New York City and into a former Methodist church in the Berkshires. I began doing daily hikes on one stretch of the Appalachian Trail – the section that goes from Route 20 in Becket to Upper Goose Pond. The hike is 45 minutes into the wilderness, then 45 minutes back to my car, with a mile swim in between.
This is how I passed each morning. I did it in order to clear my head, and gradually over time, it’s how I escaped the crushing feeling of being lost.
Each day on my hike, I passed a small wooden box that contained a notebook – known on the AT as the “trail log.” I would make an entry in it. Some days, I would snap a picture of what I wrote and text it to my friend and colleague Juliane. She kept all the pictures that I sent to her. They are included here, along with others I took on the trail. Given the way I usually make pictures, with a large crew and carefully orchestrated details, taking pictures like this on a phone was a completely new thing for me at the time.
These hikes, and the documentation of them, became a profound part of my life and of my artistic process. Eventually, Juliane started coming along. Conversations we had on the hikes became germs of ideas. I started imagining pictures during my swims in Upper Goose Pond. Ultimately, it would be on trails in Becket that I would envision my next body of work: Cathedral of the Pines.
In the end, the hikes were not just a way to clear my head. They were, in a profound way, how I became connected to myself again. It wasn’t an accident that I was in Becket, and hiking to Upper Goose Pond. My family had had a cabin nearby on Upper Upper Goose Pond when I was growing up. Perhaps I was searching for a lingering ghost of a former version of myself there.
Had you gone for a Sunday afternoon ride that day you might have seen him, close to naked, standing on the shoulders of Route 424, waiting for a chance to cross. You might have wondered if he was the victim of foul play, had his car broken down, or was he merely a fool. Standing barefoot … (Raymond Carver)
All photos courtesy of Gregory Crewdson, except drone photography by Terry Holland, courtesy Gregory Crewdson.
Gregory Crewdson was born in 1962 in Brooklyn, NY. He is a graduate of SUNY Purchase and the Yale School of Art, where he is now Director of Graduate Studies in Photography. Crewdson’s career has spanned three decades. His work has been exhibited widely in the United States and Europe and is included in many public collections, including The Museum of Modern Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Whitney Museum of American Art, The Brooklyn Museum, The Los Angeles County Museum and The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Crewdson’s awards include the Skowhegan Medal for Photography, the National Endowment for the Arts Visual Artists Fellowship, and the Aaron Siskind Fellowship.