As an outdoor enthusiast, I was initially drawn to photography as a means of recording the intricacies and power of the surrounding environment. I now photograph landscapes knowing that global warming, human consumption, and an expanding population are affecting them. People may or may not physically be in the image, but they have an unspoken influence on it.
I am interested in the power struggle between mankind and nature and the ever-changing concept of nature from the indestructible force to the fragile ecosystem.
After graduating high school, I volunteered in a small rural town in Panama for a month. Since then my hunger for travel and Spanish have grown. I studied abroad in Costa Rica and participated in two Alternative Spring Breaks, one in Haiti and the other in Mexico. In each place I grappled with the barriers between outsiders and native peoples.
Can documentary photographers ever truly depict a place or do we take photographs that fit easily into our view of poverty?
In my next project I will return to Panama and hand the camera over to the children to dissect this issue. Through a weekly class, I will discuss camera techniques as well as seemingly simple questions like, “What do you like and dislike about your community?" and tougher ones about how they view me in their community.
It is my hope that viewers will be affected to think about how they function within their own space as well as how they can use that to assist people in other countries dealing with problems of which many of us have no grasp.
Allie Fitzsimmons (formerly Behm) was born in 1987 in Petaluma, California. She graduated in 2009 from the University of California, Santa Cruz, with a B.A. in both Art and Environmental Studies. She and her husband, Dylan, currently live in Burlington, Vermont, having recently moved from Incline Village, Nevada, located in the Lake Tahoe Basin.
Allie’s work is a documentation of the beauty and isolation present in the natural world as well as the meaning of “outsider” in our intricately connected world.
Permanent Exhibit: “Service Project in Haiti” - UCSC Sociology Department
The Cosmo Factory Cosmetology Academy: “Welcome to Haiti” - Joint Exhibit with Peregrine Destry Starin.