On January 20th, 2017 – Trump's Inauguration Day – and the days following, locals in the streets of Havana spent their time searching for answers on what Donald Trump's presidency would mean for Cuba. Peaceful coexistence of the two countries? More democratic and economic opportunities for Cubans? A reinstitution of U.S. embargo policies that isolate the island? It's clear what the Cuban people want. “I’m comfortable with my life," Alberto Figueras, a manager of several rental properties in Havana, says. "But I wish I had the freedom of expression and the freedom to vote and do what I want – to say what I want."
Donald Trump is president. Fidel Castro is dead. Raúl Castro has announced his retirement in February 2018. We are at the tipping point of a diplomatic seesaw and only President Trump's actions – not his words – will determine which way it will all go. But until then, people will live and observe and express their hopes and their worries – collectively divided. -Lauren Steele for Rolling Stone
A Weird and Perfect Wilderness
Not many people visit the Kalmiopsis Wilderness. Situated at the intersection of the Siskiyou and Klamath ranges, it is an inhospitable, almost unapproachable place. Most of its ridges rise just a few thousand feet, and many of its 180,000 acres remain scarred from a massive fire that burned through its scrubby forest of Douglas fir, Jeffrey pines and manzanita over a decade ago. It’s a brutal place, whipsawed by the seasons and still barricaded by deadfall from the fire. Only a handful of trails breach the wilderness border, and even fewer cut to its heart. The shortest backpacking trip becomes a thorny, prickly, dangerous endeavor. But despite – or maybe because of – its challenges, Gabe and Jill Howe have built their lives around the Kalmiopsis. -Kate Schimel for High Country News
This macho, cultural artifact the cowboy has become, is simply a man who possesses resilience, patience, and an instinct for survival. “Cowboys are just like a pile of rocks—everything happens to them. They get climbed on, kicked, rained and snowed on, scuffed by the wind. Their job is ‘just to take it,’” one old-timer told me. -Gretel Ehrlich, The Solace of Open Spaces
North of North
Barter Island, Alaska is no conventional destination. The winters are long, cold, dark, and desolate. The population consists of less than 250 Inupiat natives and a sprinkling of settlers. And it is home to one of the largest and healthiest Polar Bear sleuths in the world. This is what it looks like to get up to the Arctic Circle and experience one of the most extraordinary animals in one of the most unyielding landscapes. -Lauren Steele
My sister-in-law invited me to document the scheduled surgical birth of her second child. It was a roller coaster: nervousness and compassion, relief and euphoria, cinnamon rolls and breast milk. The result– Hank. No one remembers being born, but these images will be the building blocks of the stories he will tell.