This body of work, haphazardly begun in 2011, details the journey of a man across an abandoned world inhabited only by shadows. It began when I discovered a photograph in a pawn shop in New Jersey. This photograph depicted a man—who I have come to name the "Unknown Wanderer" (or UW)—in an ice cave. On the back of each photograph were written numbers suggesting coordinates which led me to a spot in the High Desert of New Mexico. At this spot, I would discover a box, buried, full of other photographs, objects, and writings.

[umbrae] project was awarded the Iowa Review Photography prize in 2013: “His work whispers, makes you move in closer in hopes of hearing a secret,” wrote judge Alec Soth.

Since discovering this collection, I have made it my mission to assemble, rephotograph, and reprint each image in earnest and to compile the writings with my own assessment of it all. As a collective, the body of work is called [umbrae]. The collection of photographs left by UW are henceforth known as the Shadow Archive (SA) due to the nature of its content, its dated appearance, and in UW’s own cryptic labeling system. I have deduced, through graphology and style, that each original photograph was made by the same individual (not to mention it was all contained in one box).

Amongst the discoveries of photographs were various items: a journal, loose writings and sketches, objects, vials of soil and ash, and other things. I am slowly photographing these items as an anthropologist or archeologist might. They are labeled according to their material existence, Objects and Ephemera.

© Colin Edgington 2023