Derek Schrock: A Sum of One

Published on 10/12/ 2022

My photographs are an expression of my existence. Being present, I went to the ends of the earth to see again. I took a journey abroad, beyond my grounds, mapping my soul as a constellation belonging to me, Derek Schrock, owner of one. My name, my soul, had become misplaced—I couldn’t capture, describe, nor recognize them. Unbeknownst to me, being aware of this was to become my greatest fortune. Recognizing that I could reclaim myself was clearly a golden opportunity.The existence of a deep void enveloped me in a dark shadow, propelling me forward on this journey abroad, which exposed an opposing flash of light that illuminated my reawakening. The sow- ing of my soul, by an arrangement of places traveled, was my ultimate investment. Figuratively, this was my natural burial to bid farewell to a lost self. 

Unfulfilled by the road taken, I strapped on a backpack to trek across six continents and encountered sheltering embraces that mended my being. The wild landscapes, happening streets, and endearing faces in some of the most remote places in the world contained a cultural significance that served as the influential callings, contrasts, and medicine in which I found myself. 

This is neither a heroic story of accomplishment nor a sad story of a broken soul. I am not a summiting alpinist or hopeless wanderer. The adventure was never about the pinnacles hit from ascension or the descending to accolades upon return. Forged in an athletic background, ambitions of winning awards to justify my efforts had been shed. Those dreams expired. It was about the journey and how it happened. The immersion of an experience into something spiritual. To rethink what it means to be a witness to the lives of others and to contemplate how far we are or are not from one another, in a great many things. More than anything this is a thank-you for the gift of this journey. Complications unfolded before me, as the road was an ironing of the soul. But it was easier than expected, like meeting the love of your life and feeling a particular way and not having to explain it.