What does being outside mean to you? The way I look at it, it is about living as our most authentic, true selves, free from etiquette, acts, or poses. It’s the innate sense of wonder, the spirit of adventure, the universal drive to experience beauty. After all, we are the children of the stimuli that surround us. 

My mind has not necessarily always been this preoccupied with rugged wilderness. I grew up outside of Hamburg, Germany, a near-coastal big-city part of the country where mountains and wild, untouched spaces are hard to come by — although it wasn’t for a lack of trying on my part.

A little bit of dirt on my face after a long day spent outside? Don't mind if I do! Photo by Christina Freitag.

A little bit of dirt on my face after a long day spent outside? Don't mind if I do! Photo by Christina Freitag.

Still, the love for the outdoors can be a love learned. When I moved to the U.S., I found a sense of home in the rugged beauty of Colorado’s Rocky Mountains. All of a sudden I understood much better that being outside, exploring wild places, can truly transform us and make us better people. I’d like to think that I am a better version of myself when I am out in nature.

For more than a decade, I worked as a journalist. It’s probably the reason why I still always carry a journal with me. I usually stop, slow down and put into words my emotions, the little nuggets of inspiration I find in a scene. Nature, I think, is too holistic an arena for us not to engage all our senses. It’s my reporting years that have taught me to look beyond the shiny surface, to search for deeper meaning in seemingly minute details.

The great American beat poet Gary Snyder wrote, “Nature is not a place to visit, it is home.” Nature is my home, not my studio, and my art is an invitation, an opening of doors and minds. It is also a declaration of our shared responsibility to protect our home.

When you think about it, being out in wild places is an incredibly intimate, individual experience. No matter how many people we may rub shoulders with in a location, our minds will still take solitary pathways unknown but to us. My pieces encapsulate an iconic moment in time, in thought, in transition — they tell the story of more than what can be seen. If you ask me, our intimate feelings and yearnings — collectively reflected in an image — are the hallmark of what makes a timeless photographic art piece. 

Photo by Hugo Cordova / Reel Positive

Photo by Hugo Cordova / Reel Positive

That deeply-rooted emotional connection, the rare confluence of a time in our lives, the subsequent love for a place, and the unique, elusive perfect moment, is what drives people to enrich their home’s walls with not just one of my images but with a vivid memory. My collector’s pieces are meant to be a vehicle to transport us back in time, back to the places we see when we close our eyes.

And so, photography, then, is only the medium. The true result of my work is an emotion, a feeling, a sense of belonging — a sense of home.


ARD German TV
Deutsche Welle
The Colorado Independent
Nurse-Family Partnership
Rowohlt Publishing House