For this year’s art gallery at Mo*Con, we have a few artists making their debut showings. One of them is photography Kristin Fuller. Here’s a brief description of her powerful project, Ascension. It’s a moving piece that spoke to me.

A photo essay by Kristin Elizabeth Fuller

In my most recent project, “Ascension”, I have been exploring the spirituality of the desert. Desert Spirituality is rooted in the idea that in the desert places of our lives; in the barrenness and brokenness of our souls and the empty places of our planet; there in solitude as we seek God, we will find what is most true and real in the world. As we empty and expose ourselves we will find God reshaping our identity and our perceptions. I am fascinated by the idea that as we retreat into a desert environment (whether literal desert or quiet sanctuaries found throughout our daily lives) we find ourselves stripped of our emotional baggage, quietly refocused and more attuned to our environments. How is it that as we step away and disengage from the world around us and enter into the solitude of the desert we then find ourselves more aware and cognizant of what is real when we return?

This project, “Ascension”, began while on a 60 mile backpacking trip through the Pariah Canyon in northern Utah. About 2/3rds of the way along the trek, while approaching one of the highest and most picturesque parts of this journey, I photographed my subjects entering into the metaphorical (and literal) desert experience: observing, choosing to enter, struggling to find rest, battling to let go of illusions and find their true selves, entering into solitude, into worship, leaving a piece of themselves behind.