Hannah Olivia Nelson is an educator and emerging artist based in San Francisco, CA and Boston, MA. She received her BA from Dartmouth College and MFA from California College of the Arts. Hannah is a current Photography Fellow and Lecturer in Studio Art at Dartmouth College.
January, 2018: Extending Light
If I trace the line of the mountains, it is likeness enough to the line that any mountains make. Even the hills, far away, even little clumps of blackened snow on the side of the road. It is a silhouette to count on, that I may be greater than or consumed by, that I see always and don’t need to understand. With just this line I see the mountain, much more so than when I touch it and climb it and look out over all the things I’m made to feel I know. Because I see these things, but do not know.
I climb, I breathe heavy and ascend something so unlike my own body and so much of the earth that even living upon it I cannot fathom it. Ascend until it is mine and becomes nothing. Here I become also unlike my own body and also unlike earth, and I am far away and unlike anything I know and this is where I come to see the shapeless things that hover in on the air I breathe unthinkingly.
Like condensation, and the clarity of her fingernails, and the way playing Erik Satie feels like drawing the line that mountains make. And I wonder, if I hold a piece of photographic paper against my chest in the sun will it show me something? If I think of her face long enough will I see it, will some medium come down like cold fog on the hills or a piece of paper and show me something beautiful that I cannot know because it isn’t here on the mountain, because I saw it yesterday and that is not enough…