My work poses the question: What does a young Mexican matador, postured in his stark masculinity, share with a Native American spirt dancer, arms unfurling like flags in the wind, or a Nevada brothel madam, whose gaze sizes you up with unromantic frankness? And farmers, sheep ranchers and Olympic swimmers? How are they connected? They’re all denizens of the modern American West, which is also my home. I have lived in New Mexico, Arizona and California for the past 25 years. I built a life here and this is where I developed as an artist. As a mother, I know this is the world —and the far-flung cultures — that my son will eventually inherit. I want to explain this part of the planet, most often through photographic portraits. Initially I became interested in the complexities facing agriculture today during an LA Times assignment. Whether it’s global competition, urban migration, or climate change, the landscape and people captured my imagination. And the tread that connects all of my work is water. For without water, the American West as we know it — including the embroidery of its varied subcultures — will cease to exist.