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Between Two Mysteries

© Carl Bigmore

A loosely defined geographical region, the Pacific Northwest is dominated by the Cascade mountain range, which runs from southern British Columbia in Canada through the states of Washington and Oregon into Northern California. The Cascades split the region in two; to the west, rainfall is plentiful; the sky characterised by grey clouds; the earth by lush, temperate rain forest. To the east lie vast, arid deserts and rocky mountains.

Since settlers followed the perilous Oregon Trail in search of prosperity in the 1800s, the American imagination has left its imprint on this landscape. Oregon is forever haunted by the Overlook Hotel in Kubrick’s The Shining and its chilling analysis of the nation’s conflicted soul. Jack never left. In Washington State, the Twin Peaks of Lynchian fiction continue to emit mystery. The ghost of Kurt Cobain sways to a grunge beat. Cowboys still mount their steeds; small indigenous settlements hug the coastline; sightings of Big Foot crop up now and then.

Photographing these places, I found moments where fact and fiction intersect to create a lyrical narrative about the real and unreal, where the relationship between images builds to play on ideas of the American Dream, popular culture, myth and history. I found a region built on layers of imagined realities as much as the logging, fishing and farming industries that characterise much of its landscape.

Between Two Mysteries seeks the elusive space between the real and imagined. That place that is indefinable and mysterious, much like the beguiling landscape of the Pacific Northwest itself.

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Between Two Mysteries is a photographic exploration of the Pacific Northwest of America.

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