In her series Down the Rabbit Hole, Emily Vallee investigates her family’s relationship with the landscape and the beings that exist within the forest and the psychological aspects and implications manifested and held there. Born and raised on a farm in the green mountains of Vermont, Vallee writes that she has an often inexplicable, reverent and deeply personal bond with the natural world. Her practice generally explores her relationship with the earth and the animals that roam the woods and fields. Vallee’s photographs are quiet and still, yet striking–each image is powerful and arresting. To me, the work speaks of the brutality of nature, in the stark months of winter as well as other times of year when, while the vegetation is green and verdant, the stories that unfold are dark and mysterious.

From the artist’s statement: Through photography I seek to unearth the connection between the human and the animal. There is constant fluctuation in relationship of ‘human’ and ‘animal’. Aldo Leopold states in his Sand County Almanac that “we abuse the land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect”. I consider in my photographs how this sentiment translates not only to our relationship with the land but to our relationship with animals – furthermore the creatures, plants and living things we share this planet with. We have constructed a separation between humans and the wilderness. I hunt to find this separation, examine it and and simultaneously destroy these boundaries. With these photographs I ask, although we have stepped so forward into the future, what can we gain from stepping back to examine our most animalistic nature? Imprints left on the land from animal and from human are particularly salient, they symbolize an event, a stepping, a whisp of air, a birth, a body, and above all they hold mystery.

“The intricacy of the crossing paths and crossing energies in a forest — the paths of birds, insects, mammals, spores, seeds, reptiles, ferns, lichens, worms, trees, etc., etc. — is unique; perhaps in certain areas on the seabed there exists a comparable intricacy, but there man is a recent intruder, whereas, with all his sense perceptions, he came from the forest.” – John Berger

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