Recently, I enrolled in a class on Coursera about how to make infographics. This week’s assignment was all about map making. It’s fun to think about maps as more than just navigational tools — to think of them as narrative devices or tools for storytelling. I was inspired by the instructor’s sample where he journaled on a map during a cross country road trip and recorded experiences by location. I decided to revisit my hike on the Superior Hiking Trail and simplify the map to showcase a few highlights from the trip. Plotting the photographs along the trail presented the experience in a different light than a series of photographs can do on their own.
During my undergraduate studies at the University of Minnesota, I studied both geography and photography. Since that time I’ve gone on to take photographs all over the world — but I’ve never linked the photographs to their geographic location in such a literal way. The photographs are these little indisputable records or memories from the trip — but even those, without context, can shift in order and importance. The map serves to ground those memories with a little more accuracy.