Ode to Desolation is Lindsey Hagen's thoughtful and intimate short documentary on Jim Henterly, an illustrator who mans of one the 60 remaining US fire lookout posts, down from 9,000 at the start of the 20th century.
Like lighthouses, fire lookout posts are being replaced with satellite-based technologies.
In a lovely interview, Lindsey talks about how hard it was to get her subject to agree to be in the film, explaining why it was so important to convince him to agree:
The story of Jim Henterly and his role at Desolation Peak came to me from a photographer, Kellen Mohr. I was intrigued to know more about the man on the mountain with the eye and lexicon made to appreciate, indulge, and share the beauty of the natural world. I gave Jim a call and he made it well known that he had no interest in being the subject of a film. That inspired me even further. Here was a man with a heart of gold and the purest intentions in preserving our wild places. Just as Jim sought to keep our wild untainted, he too was untainted in a way. I wanted to share part of what it means to exist today 'untainted.' In doing so, we tribute this film to the effects of wilderness on the human soul and psyche. Jim's way of observing and engaging with the world around him inspires me immensely.
Image: Vimeo / Chris Naum