by Jere Kittle, Richmond, VA

Story prompt: Write your own river story…

Tokens of Affection. I am a photographer in Richmond VA and a member of Artspace Gallery. This year’s Members’ Biennial exhibition is a little different. Artspace partnered with the James River Association and for the first time, there is a theme – WATERSHED (exhibition at Artspace Gallery November 11 – December 17, 2022). I was thrilled to have this opportunity to honor the James.

The fall line of the river is not far from my home and very close to my heart. I believe we all have a deep connection to certain bodies of water. For some it’s the nearest ocean, for others, a pond, a stream, or a birdbath in the backyard. These bodies of water show us a place that is apart from our busy lives. Each has a life of its own; ceaselessly doing only and simply what water does, both powerful and still; contributing to the flow of life on this planet. They abide with the natural world and remind us of the essential nature that resides within each of us. For me, the fall line of the James River and its interplay with ancient boulders and endless opportunities for play as well as meditation is the centerpiece of the place I call home.

I’ve taken hundreds if not thousands of photographs of the James River over the years and to express my feelings for it through a photograph or two seemed inadequate. So for this exhibition, I created a series of images conceived as “Tokens of Affection,” to honor all that the river means to me.