Jefferson Caine Lankford is a documentary and fine art photographer based in North Carolina. He uses a range of photographic techniques within his work including alternative, analog and digital practices. Jefferson earned his BFA in photography at East Carolina University in May of 2016, and during his undergraduate career he also attended the Australian National University, located in Canberra, Australia, where he studied documentary photography for one year. Much of Jefferson’s work involves documenting the impact humans are having on their environment. He either documents his subjects directly in a photojournalistic approach, or create scenes that conceptually depict environmental concerns. As an artist, his goal is to use photography as a means of bridging together people and their stories alike to share with the world and bring about change that will better the lives and the environment(s) of the subjects he photographs.
Bridging The Gap: Documenting The Bundian Way
The Bundian Way is a pathway proposed by the Eden Local Aboriginal Land Council of Eden, NSW, which mirrors an aboriginal trading route. The proposed route stretches 227 miles (365 km) from the rough terrain of Kosciusko, all the way to the coastal waters of Eden. Although the historical trail is not officially marked throughout, the Bundian Way attempts to provide visitors with an accurate historical insight of aboriginal heritage, educating travelers both foreign and domestic, while boosting tourism within South Eastern Australia. The Bundian Way was approved for survey on foot in 2010 through funding from the National Indigenous Heritage Program. Now the entire track has been recorded by GPS. Despite the significant length of this track, the Bundian Way is only a small part of the larger network of Aboriginal pathways that cover Australia.
From March until mid-May of 2015, Jefferson researched and worked in the field collecting data and photographing locations that he felt conveyed the importance of this culturally significant landscape. Undertaking such a large assignment was incredibly challenging and he knew that having an outsider approach would produce many obstacles. As a foreigner in an unfamiliar land, Jefferson found the lack of accessibility and knowledge of the region left him reeling for answers. A disconnect between himself and the comprehension of this land became largely apparent as time went on. However, he found that by focusing on silent moments within the landscape allowed him to bridge those gaps. There are familiar moments within this series that all of humanity can relate to, an essence of naturalism that needs little or no explanation. This body of work gravitates around the outsiders’ point of view and translates the unfamiliar into understanding — both of the past and the present.
To view more of Jefferson’s work please visit his website.