Tag Archives: photography

Invitation: A View West | Photography Exhibit March 4

The ad Johnston Architects created for the exhibit opening.

This winter I was offered the opportunity to exhibit photographs of my travels throughout the American West. Now, after a couple months of selecting, editing, printing and framing, the show is coming to life.

I’m looking forward to seeing everyone there:

Open Invitation: A View West
Featuring landscape photography by Jonna Bell

Opening: Friday, March 4 from 6 to 8 p.m.
Exhibit: February 25 through March 25
Johnston Architects, Seattle (map)

View Featured Images

The American West has long sparked our collective imagination. Its expansive landscapes take many forms, frequently succumbing to human presence but resisting occupation. It captivates our senses and defies our comprehension.

The following photographs offer viewpoints of a range of natural forms that endure – rolling prairie hills, a distant mountain range, a frenetic tide – and humble our repeated efforts to intervene. And yet, we persist in engaging. Fields are plowed to the shape of rolling loam, a season of speed waits for water to dissipate, a boardwalk leads to primitive hot springs, a fishing village becomes the backdrop for winter’s churn.

Despite our repeated efforts to negotiate with the land, it persists at setting its own terms… All the while tempting us with an infinite horizon.

In preparing, my respect for those who exhibit regularly has grown significantly. Special thank yous for my exhibit go to:

Mom “Cat” Bell
Anna Bell
Jody Jahn
Richard Beall
David Blair
Stan Laegreid
Sean Watson
Brian Greller
Min Cho
Wyn Bielaska

Defining Vas-y Fille

Though there’s no experience that sources my desire for adventure, there is one that tells the source of the phrase vas-y fille or ‘go girl’.

It comes from a simple text of encouragement early one morning, from one best girlfriend to another, as I departed to document the harvest season on Idaho’s prairies. An annual trip since college, I travel each August to photograph the burning fields, the ubiquitous columbines and the rythmic towers of hay that become the sole purpose of the prairie’s community. But this time I was barely off crutches from a bouldering accident that left an ankle bruised and torn and a knee battered and twisted. And I would be on my own.

To myself I needed to prove that a part of me which previously spurred my speed in escape, my agility in adventure and my presence when standing would not be forced to now place governance over those very abilities. I had already spent two months fighting the mere existence of crutches and listening to my ankle specialist describe the ‘damage done’ while telling me it was the worst ankle injury he’d seen in his career. But worse, I’d always had the ability to get up and walk it off. And now I simply had to sit and weather.

And so I packed my camera, my cowgirl boots, my sleeping bag, my pillow and I departed. Always one to let someone know my destination status, I sent a quick text “on my way sister, see you Sunday” to one of my best girlfriends. And the response she delivered became a totem phrase that defines these stories, what I hope readers take from them and what life should be for any woman: Go girl.


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