Written by Allison Davis
Revealed at the Edge by Allison Davis
A 30 Day Photographic Journey of The American West Coast shared in a 560 Page, 9×12 Fine Art Coffee Table Book
Sitting at the edge of the beach, with police tape blocking us from its sandy shores, I was at a loss. Just a couple days after a March 14, 2020 wedding I photographed, the rumors of lockdowns became reality: complete with beach closures I never dreamed would happen.
I speculated with friends over FaceTime chats that things would surely change and be lifted by the summer. Weeks of beach closures and near absolute isolation left me losing my sanity and I retreated home to Texas to regroup and figure out what steps I should take next.
Knowing the policies in place for the pandemic in California, I quickly learned that weddings were on hold, and so was all of my income and potential income. I had no idea what I would do to make money and survive a complete collapse of the industry I’d been successful in for 13 years.
Finding New Photography Opportunities
After visiting and brainstorming with family and friends, I landed on pursuing real estate photography as substitute income. I landed a job with a larger real estate photography firm and was slowly trained and thrown in the mix for jobs that came up. But as I learned and as only small amounts of work came in, I discovered that I absolutely hated this kind of photography. The cumbersome tripod, the emptiness of the spaces, the lack of human interaction, the quick and methodical way of shooting… I knew I couldn’t stay in this line of work and still love photography. So I quit. Realizing at that moment, I had so much more to offer the world than photographing three walls. I declared myself an artist at that moment and took to pursuing creativity.
Over the early days of the pandemic, to cope with my utter isolation, I’d taken a course on “The Science of Happiness” by Yale University on Coursera, I’d begun working through “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron, and I’d been praying about how to use my time.
With no possibility of weddings returning in 2020, the only thing I had now was time.
I love making resolutions & am a goal-oriented dreamer. Upon moving to Southern California, one of my goals was to photograph the landscape of San Diego as a personal project. This seed of an idea began before the pandemic and had been buried by the chaos of the initial months of the lockdowns. Once things had settled a little, the time in prayer, the pursuit of creativity and the pairing with the science of happiness led me to the God-given idea to not only photograph Southern California, but all of California… and while I’m at it, why not the whole west coast? And let’s do it in 30 days so it’s a challenge and a timeframe.
So I put pen to paper and started planning a trip to photograph the west coast in 30 days while doing it as cheaply as possible, which led me to camping in my car for the majority of the trip. I basically created a time frame to create each day and a flow to shooting, to writing, to resting, to experiencing a place with my full presence and not just to shoot and run.
Writing And Photography Together
My initial aim was to be able to create enough pieces to put together my first fine art photography show. As I took pictures, I journaled. I’ve always been a writer, but for this project, journaling was initially for my own enjoyment & context for the images. I found though that I was thrilled to write the things I was seeing with my heart and shooting with my eyes. And each day, as I photographed parts of the coast, the words of my heart poured out onto pages.
I wanted a clever way to name the images of my collection and decided to do it based on the mileage. As I wrote, it felt like glimpses into the journey of the trip. And the book began to write itself. I knew exactly how I wanted to format it, design it, share essays that would give voice and understanding to what I was seeing when I photographed the coastal landscapes.
This book is a culmination of so many things that have inspired me and shaped me. From my educational background in journalism to be a storyteller and witness, to the way the raw, rugged coastlines speak to my inner spirit of its condition and history, and the draw to create something of greater weight than an instagram post or blog post. I desired to bring back that experience of immersing yourself in an image and a scene with the words to give guidance along the experience and the journey. There’s nothing like holding an image and getting a sense of what the artist meant and saw in creating it.
Revealed At The Edge
I was inspired by the desire to share my viewpoint as an artist in writing & in landscapes. I was inspired to pursue beauty every day, to seek it out, to share what I found in the day, moment and situation that was before my eyes.
I was also inspired by the idea that I believe we can connect with God and ourselves in creation. The raw, wild landscapes can be a reflection of our hearts. We learn and grow through seasons. We are shaped by the things that impact us like storms.
My educational background was in journalism and this project is truly a culmination of so many of my talents and skills from writing, to designing to photographing the pieces for the book. I loved being able to share it as a journey and to give context to my images and what I found as I pursued beauty at the edge.
Allison Davis Bio:
Allison Davis is a “Witness to Life & Beauty,” a photographer, an author, a designer & a traveler. Beginning her post-college career as a journalist, she later developed a love for wedding photography and built a successful business photographing more than 400 weddings over 13 years. Seeking beauty and adventure and the hope of building a new life after years of feeling personally stuck, she moved from her lifelong home of the North Dallas metroplex to Ocean Beach in San Diego, California.
Amidst the global pandemic of 2020, after losing her wedding business for the year, she pivoted into real estate photography briefly but found her artistic passion suffering between four walls. Casting a grand vision of photographing the west coast in 30 days, she set off to car-camp along the coast to photograph the natural beauty the coastal landscape offers while writing along the journey. Tracking each set of images by the mileage of her journey, Allison created her first fine art photographic coffee table book: “Revealed at the Edge.”
This 560-page, 9×12 art piece shares her vision and heart as an artist and what the coast revealed about the journey of life itself along with the captivating beauty of the west coast of America. With hopes of creating her debut fine art photography show in the winter of 2021/2022, Allison will share limited edition prints from the experience that will speak to your spirit.
Support her project Revealed at the Edge on her kickstarter between July 23 – August 23. The book will be available for pre-order after this until it is published later this year.
Revealed at the Edge: https://www.revealedattheedge.com/
Kickstarter Campaign: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/revealedattheedge/west-coast