Jenny Riffle and Melinda Hurst Frye
King County Regional Trails System
Two photographers capture the spirit of King County’s trails in a series of contemporary images.
The King County Regional Trails System (RTS) traverses a variety of urban settings and bucolic landscapes teeming with Northwest flora. For Picturing Trails, photographers Jenny Riffle and Melinda Hurst Frye set out to capture and interpret this network, introducing a new audience to their own “big backyard” through a series of poetic images.
Riffle, a Seattle-based artist, created a suite of 24 photos, each with its own unique light and texture. At turns mysterious and dreamy, the images move through different seasons and weather, reflecting the immeasurable range of visual experiences that are possible on the trails. Some of her photos include human elements—a fence, a discarded pair of jeans, a person ahead in the distance—while others immerse the viewer in the natural environment alone. Many of them pulse with sensation, like the feeling of mist on the skin or the sounds of leaves and branches in autumn.
I have always found the wildness of the parks and trails in this region to be a wonderful experience; so close to the city streets, but you can still get into the woods and feel as if you are far away from the din... – Jenny RiffleFrye, also a native of Washington state, created an additional 12 images for the project, most of which picture plant and animal life up close, which lends them a quiet intimacy. The plants Frye focuses on are familiar, such as birch bark, blackberries, ivy, moss, blades of grass; in lingering on them, she reminds us of the beauty in the mundane, of the life that bursts forth from places we often ignore. Frye journeyed to the sites of her photos by bicycle and took them with a flatbed scanner, a process she uses often in her multi-layered work.