When Covid hit the US in 2020, I was compelled to find a creative focus to sustain my attention though prolonged periods of isolation. I quickly developed a practice of getting up before sunrise and heading out to photograph the rivers around my Montana home. Initially this involved photographic along the Clark Fork River in and around the town of Missoula. But quickly my working area expanded to include the Blackfoot River corridor along Highway 200 and the Bitterroot River Valley to the south. The town of Missoula sits on the Clark Fork River between its confluences with the Blackfoot River just east of town at Milltown and the Bitterroot River just west of town at Kelly’s Island. Three River Sonata is the name for what emerged over three years. The work of photographing these rivers involved many days of walking with 4×5 and 8×10  large format cameras along the rivers. Most days I would expose only 2-3 sheets of film over a 4-hour period. I would then return to my Missoula studio in the afternoon and develop.

My choice of film quickly shifted from commercial panchromatic film (Ilford or Foma) to orthochromatic X-Ray film, specifically UltraCruz Blue.

Beginning in early 2022, I started thinking about how to print this body of work, and began registering for a number of workshops to explore different processes. It was in this effort that I took a workshop at Lightbox Photographic Gallery in Astoria, Oregon with Karen Hymer of Light Art Space in Silver City, NM on polymer plate photogravure. In that workshop, I printed one small image from the series, and I was completely sold. In the Fall of 2022 I became the Laura Grace Barrett Printmaking Resident at the Zootown Arts Center in Missoula and completed printing the full series. In December 2022, at the end of my residency, I had a solo show at the Zootown Arts Center of the Three River Sonata series.