A visual meditation on civilization, On the Route to Ruins: From Baalbek to Bukhara records sites from the Levant to Central Asia haunted by conflict and foreign subjugation through a series of atmospheric documentary photographs. I set out in the winter and spring of 2018 to begin cataloguing old sites of power and religion along the new Silk Road. On this long, solo trip—the first of two long trips in 2018, with many more to come—I was moved by the continued potency of the old eras—the Biblical, the Socialist, the Industrial, the Mongol—and roused by the engrossing gleam of the new. Journeying from the ancient Roman ruins in Hezbollah-run Baalbek to the surreal now devastatingly arid plane of the Kyzylkum Desert in Uzbekistan, I grew increasingly absorbed by the bits of quotidian evidence of what communities and nations valued—their identities coming into focus for an outsider through motifs and activities as the people transitioned out of war, old overlords and, in some cases, corruption.
A project as much communal as artistic, I spent time with activists, artists, and everyday people within the tourism sectors, allowing those conversations and perspectives to give shape to my photographic efforts. In summer of 2018, I returned to Eurasia to begin following the next route: On the Route to Calamities. In 2019, the second year of the Peregrination Project, I will continue both of these routes—Route to Ruins and Route to Calamities—and initiate work around the Caspian and Black Seas, as well as along the north-south spine of western Russia.