ABOVE: “Boat Houses,” Southern Tip of Lake Coeur D’Alene, Idaho, 2014.
THE INTERCONNECTEDNESS of communities and the way people
form a sense of place are central themes in Dennis DeHart’s project
“Confluences.” Through landscapes, portraiture, video and archival
images, the project looks at the Columbia Basin—the drainage basin of
the Columbia River—which encompasses parts of Washington, Idaho,
Oregon, Wyoming and Western Canada.
After moving to Eastern Washington to assume an assistant
professor of photography position at Washington State University,
DeHart began exploring the area around his new home. The
Columbia River is a dominant physical feature of the landscape in
Oregon, where DeHart grew up, and DeHart was drawn back to
the Columbia and the network of connected rivers around it when
he resettled further east in the Palouse, an agricultural region that
encompasses parts of Washington and Idaho.
The concept of bioregionalism, a system of thinking that defines
areas not by political borders but by geographical features and ecological
similarities, inspired DeHart to take a wide view of the area. “I’m
trying to find connections amongst different communities that maybe
Dennis DeHart’s wide-ranging exploration of the Columbia River Basin
seeks out the cultural and ecological connections between communities in
four U.S. states and Western Canada. BY CONOR RISCH