Joanne Berghold has published her third collection of Montana scenes, Without Compass (JB Photography, 2014). For 25 years, Berghold has roamed the back roads of our state capturing images of this vast country. Without Compass presents 102 black & white images of grand, patterned landscapes, introduced by Rick Bass, environmental activist and author of diverse writings. The book is Made In Montana.
“The path of life is often trackless, we steer our way by a gentle compass of heart and spirit. Some travelers start with map and directions, others just set out to see what is around the bend, over the horizon, willingly getting lost, hoping to find a reason to stop and look outward. Follow the roll of the hill, the course of water, the bend of grasses, the wave of clouds with Delight & Wonder, Wandering Montana Without Compass.“
Her second book, Old Windows — Old Doors (JBP, 2012) preserves a piece of Montana’s rich heritage with an invitation for others to explore the wonder and reflect upon these weathered structures which have inspired in her. Montana Hometown Rodeo (Museum of New Mexico Press, 2004) expresses Joanne’s original passion for the life and the people of the West, which she discovered in her youth at that first rodeo on the East Coast.
I came to the West from the East.
I came to photography through painting.
I have traveled the dirt roads of Montana in my truck for twenty-five years with my camera and dog.
With the sun at my back, I choose a direction and head off to find an inviting gravel road; I turn off the radio and drive slowly.
As I wander, I look for tranquil images of clouds, sky and open land to photograph. I am alone in Montana’s magnificence, without a plan or a clock, and I simply float in the landscape.
I have had wonderful adventures wandering the State. There were flat tires and long walks to the nearest house and kind people who rescued me. I had my dog and plenty of water and food in a cooler so I was not afraid and, in fact, I had fun.
I thank God for my vision and for the time I have had to photograph across the spectacular state of Montana.
I hope the images in this book will move you as they move me and encourage you to follow a gravel road with the sun at your back and time in front of you, Without Compass.
Joanne Berghold was born and raised in New York City and fell in love with Montana as a young girl.
For years, Madison Square Garden hosted an annual Rodeo event. Joanne saw her first rodeo there when she was eleven and was attracted to and intrigued by the horses and the people. Three years later, her family began summer visits to the Rocky Mountains and her passion grew with each vacation to the West’s majestic, rugged landscape.
Joanne went on to marry, have three children and graduate with a BFA in photography. She pursued her art—learning, teaching and exhibiting—all the while living outside New York City and visiting her western muse.
In 1989, Joanne and her husband, Billy, built a cabin at the foot of the Crazy Mountains near Wilsall, Montana. There, she felt at home at last and she began spending more time in Montana until moving permanently to Livingston in 2008. As an artist, Joanne revels in the freedom to journey on endless gravel roads under the peacefulness of a vast sky.