Picture (above): Dudley Edmondson // Photo: Nancy LaTour-Edmondson
“I decided a long time ago that I belong wherever I choose to be.”
Dudley Edmondson – writer, photographer, public speaker and author of ‘A Youth’s Look at Black and Brown Faces in America’s Wild Places’ – is talking to me over the phone from his home in Duluth, Minnesota. He is, in so many ways, your classic do-it-all outdoor content creator; as comfortable capturing nature on camera as he is writing and talking about it at length.
In the overwhelmingly white industry in which he works though, Dudley’s skin colour still makes him somewhat of an anomaly; an exception that proves the rule.
“Wherever I choose to go is where I’m meant to be, otherwise I clearly wouldn’t be there. That’s just the philosophy I’ve adapted,” he says, “I refuse to let other people intimidate me out of a space with stares, or grumpy attitudes, or those kinds of things. To me, I see it as an intimidation bluff. America has over 600 million acres of public land and it belongs to everyone. I pay my taxes. I’m entitled to be in these spaces, and I will go.”
“America has over 600 million acres of public land and it belongs to everyone. I pay my taxes. I’m entitled to be in these spaces, and I will go”
This year, racial inequality has been in the news cycles like never before. The Black Lives Matter protests following the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died while being detained by four police officers in Minneapolis, Minnesota, captured the world’s attention with traditional media outlets often struggling to keep pace with the live, on the ground, updates going viral on social media.
There was, in amongst it all, a sense that people were finally starting to wake up to the realities of systemic racism and police brutality.
“Millennials tend to be a generation of people that have had enough of things not being the way they think things should be and they don’t spend a lot of time trying to appease people. They want what they want, and they want it now,” Dudley tells me.