ScavengerAdventures in Treasure Hunting
“Therecomes a time in every rightly constructed boy's life when he has a ragingdesire to go somewhere and dig for hidden treasure.”
-Mark Twain, The Adventures of TomSawyer
Rileygrew up in rural eastern Washington. As a child he read Mark Twain’s stories ofTom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn and decided he wanted to be like those mythicalboys. He wanted a life full of treasure and adventure. Riley started smoking acorncob pipe, wearing a straw hat and even went to school barefoot until he wastold not to. He got his first metal detector when he was eleven and to this dayhe continues to seek treasure in the dirt, in sandy beaches or even lookingthrough a handful of change for wheat pennies and real silver. In my project, Scavenger:Adventures in Treasure Hunting,I have been following Riley out on his hunts and photographing the objects hecollects. I explore the line between documentary and fantasy as I look at theobjects he finds, what drives him to continue and the mythology and history ofthe treasure hunting persona.
InScavenger I don’t tryto reveal Riley’s essence as a traditional portrait would, but build upon it tocreate a more complicated presence. I express my romantic view of hislife and his treasure hunting obsession and choose not to show his dailyactivities outside of that. By only showing one side of his personality Icreate a larger than life character. I photograph him in Twain’s spirit,as a mythical adventurer, like Huck Finn, Amelia Earhart, Davey Crockett, orPeter Pan.
As a photographer my search for theperfect image is not that different from Riley’s search for treasure. We areboth driven by the thrill of the hunt and possibilities of what we willdiscover.