From Whence We Came

In From Whence We Came, a solo exhibition at Alfred State College's HInkle Memorial Library Gallery, I draw my primary inspiration from John F. Kennedy, Jr’s speech before the 1962 America’s Cup in Newport, RI:

“I really don't know why it is that all of us are so committed to the sea, except I think it is because in addition to the fact that the sea changes and the light changes, and ships change, it is because we all came from the sea. And it is an interesting biological fact that all of us have, in our veins the exact same percentage of salt in our blood that exists in the ocean, and, therefore, we have salt in our blood, in our sweat, in our tears. We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or to watch it we are going back from whence we came.”

The son of a Coast Guardsman, the water has always been in my life and exists heavily in themes in my photography and writing. From the ever changing meanderings of the Chemung River to the salt marsh fed waters of the Savannah Low Country to the glacial echoes of an age long since passed to the languid surf of the Pacific Ocean, this exhibition seeks to highlight the diversity of waters that have called to me and continue to do so into the present day.

In these waters I find solace in their ever welcoming arms, a calming of the soul. I hope the viewer can also bask in these waters, to become aware of the beauty that flows through them, and that they too will seek a return from whence they came.


Chris Walters From Whence We Came Solo Exhibition Alfred State College Upstate NYLow TideOn the borderlands of Wilmington Island, billowing storm clouds rise above the endless salt marshes and tributaries of the Savannah Low Country. My birthplace, it will always be home, always there to draw me into its welcoming arms. Just as the tides ebb and flow, and the waters return to the sea from which they come, so too do I return back to the Low County, back to my home where Turner Creek runs towards the Bull River, and beyond that, into the depths of the Atlantic Ocean. Chris Walters From Whence We Came Solo Exhibition Alfred State College Upstate NYEver FlowingAbove the American side of Niagara Falls, the namesake river roars blue and white under the diffused sky of a recently passed thunderstorm. Across the water the trees of Green Island sway in the still lingering winds. Like the stem of a one way hourglass that never ceases movement from one bulb to the other, the waters are funneled between the great lakes of Erie and Ontario. The Niagara River bursts through the gaps carved between the islands that frame the American side.

Chris Walters From Whence We Came Solo Exhibition Alfred State College Upstate NYThe PacificAfter the hustle and chase of the Golden Gate bridge and the roads that wind through the Marin Highlands and into the heart of San Francisco, the quietly lapping shoreline of the Presidio offers a calming solace unthinkable just a few moments before. The slowly descending sun casts a warm hue upon the distant hills that stand gatekeeper to the great Pacific waters beyond. And here along Baker beach, the waves roll in one after the other, the endless heartbeat of waters everywhere. Chris Walters From Whence We Came Solo Exhibition Alfred State College Upstate NYA StreamOn an early fall day, just as the leaves are beginning to shed their skins for the vibrant colors to come, a stream runs down from the waters of Chittenango Falls State Park. Over small boulders and rocks smoothed for millennia, the stream cuts a path that is both powerful and graceful. Above the falls are crashing and roaring, but here, away from the turbulent waters and pools below the waterfall, the stream has a serene quality as it continues uninterrupted for other waters to come. Chris Walters From Whence We Came Solo Exhibition Alfred State College Upstate NYJukulsarlonWe drive all day in search of the blue ice lagoon of Jokulsarlon. Coming from the Icelandic capital of Rejkivak, windstorms and blinding snow drifts often bring our pace to a crawl across this otherworld, lunar-esque landscape. We make quick stops at black sand beaches and ethereal waterfalls. Other times it is the hunger of my 7 month old daughter that brings our van to a standstill. But, just as the sun begins to disappear and right before another squall appears along the horizon, the blue ice appears like a beacon in the night.