Sharon had other experience in the field, noting that she was working on projects related to farming and the environment when she moved to Cusco. Still, these conversations with everyday farmers lit the creative spark.
The project had her document the natural possessions and rituals of the region, a lesson in farming and connection with the land we live upon. One photograph of particular interest portrays a woman spreading wine over a collection of freshly grown corn. Sharon explains, “It was part of a ceremonial ritual, making an offering.
“When I moved to Cusco, I was 23. People here told me that Mother Earth talks to us. If you know this, you can decode something,” Sharon says. “But for me,” she continues, “the project can explain a more practical way of Mother Earth talking to us.”
She believes that’s what runs through her entire project – it is the key takeaway of her work.
“A flower is not just a flower,” she tells us, “it is something connected. Try to observe a flower and what it means. There are layers when you look at the behaviors of the flower, an invitation to pay more attention and see more of the layers.”
It could be said that the same was true of the local farmers Sharon photographed. While they enjoyed being on camera, she reveals: “It was a different experience. The farmers were very careful about their image and how they wanted to be in front of camera – they wanted to represent their heritage.”
The knowledge Sharon obtained through her observations, her communication with local farmers, and the images she produced implore us to take a second look at the natural world – and ask us to interpret its signals.
The Reading of the Environment teaches us something simple: to observe the lone flower and absorb its insights. It may just speak to you.
To explore more of Sharon’s work, visit her Instagram. Learn more about GFX100S and read the full specifications here.