On August 22nd 2006, 50-year old Neenah, Wisconsin fine art photographer, Scott Edwards – completed a walk from Hilbert, Wisconsin to the Grand Canyon in Arizona. Edwards embarked on a solo unaided walk wearing a backpack and toting a tripod over his shoulder, to travel 2046 miles on foot on a journey that lasted 122 days.
“I wanted to go slower to experience a more intimate view of the heartland and take better pictures…you miss so much from inside a car.” said Edwards, who had been dreaming of walking across the county since he was a teenager.
“When I left, I was 60 pounds overweight and feeling old…I didn’t want to cave-in to being 50 without putting up a fight.”
Scott Edwards gained some and lost some on this odyssey: He lost 46 pounds and gained 75 large format film negatives from which he printed his black and white photographs that were presented in a solo exhibition at New Visions Gallery Museum in Marshfield, WI. last year. Edwards used a large format “bellows” camera on his walk and the summer heat posed a threat to ruining his film in the desert.
“It was over 100 degrees for 10 days straight in the desert. Finding ways to keep my film from overheating led me to shoot only in the morning and late afternoon.”
Scott started using a double baby jogger after 3 days on the road. The 50 pounds on his back added to his overweight body, exacted a tremendous toll on his feet.
“Using the baby jogger was really the only thing that kept me going. I could carry 6
gallons of water in there as well as my tent, sleeping bag, tripod, food and camera
equipment. I suffered a stress fracture in my left foot and was able to lean on the cart in order to complete the journey after resting up for nearly a week in Vermillion and Frankfort.”
When Scott Edwards returned home, he set to work on his book. It was originally formatted as a ‘coffee table’ style with lots of images, but he opted instead for a format that spoke to the journey as its own story. The book describes the first day on the road in detail, then outlines random observations borne of the 2046 miles on the road, followed by a chronological listing of selected journal entries. In the conclusion of the book, Edwards relates how this experience became the catharsis for rearranging his thinking about our nation, its people, photography, and how much abuse a 50-year old body can really take.
As a gesture of gratitude for the kindness shown him in Vermillion and Frankfort, Scott is donating books to the libraries in each city.
A book signing and meet the author event is being held at:
Vermillion Public Library
Tuesday November 18, 9am til noon
Frankfort Public Library
Tuesday November 18, 2pm til 5pm
Softcover – 5.5 x 8.5
234 pages, 25 photographs