About Kristen M. Caldon


The Grand Goal: Kristen Caldon is a PHOTOGRAPHIC EXPLORER.
out of a backpack, being constantly exposed to the elements, she is always traveling and discovering. Interpreting her experiences through photography has been her way of life, and she loves it. She hungers for ever wilder and more challenging landscapes to find her way through—places that force her to view her surroundings in a different manner, finding a new concept or scene revealed that she can portray, express and protect in the photographs she creates.

A Different Story: You would say Kristen M. Caldon is a little different from most: untamable russet hair, with or without sticks or sand in it at any given time, duct tape upgrading her clothing, an unexpected strength and fluidity in motion. She was not actually raised by wolves, although you may find yourself thinking of her as part wild, infinitely connected to, and aware of her surroundings in that animal way. Fiercely independent right from the start, she has been supporting herself since age 15, dreaming big and then making things happen. Ambition is ingrained. When Kristen found Rocky Mountain School of Photography in Missoula Montana and researched what the area had to offer, she packed her car and left Connecticut knowing she had found her spiritual home in the wide open spaces of the West. After photography school, Kristen soon landed in Flagstaff, Arizona and then quickly fell headlong into the supportive community of master photographers and painters whose influence can be seen through her photographic work and exceedingly high professional standards.

A Driving Passion: As Kristen gained experience trekking solo in deserts and mountains, the hunger for more became ravenous. She needed more challenge, more difficult terrain, and she started seeking out the most remote, extreme places she could. It did not take long before she found the Grand Canyon and realized that this place held a lifetime of treasures to discover, all the challenge she could ever dream of, and something indefinably more. Once, after being unable to locate a food cache hidden for her, she thrashed up-canyon all day. Following the last of the day’s sun trailing up the slope, she clambered onto Shiva Saddle. In front of her was such a scene as she had never before encountered, and she was left stunned, fulfilled, and physically embraced by the Canyon. The Grand Canyon had granted her not only passage to its innermost depths, but also the enlightening vision to see and share the Canyon as precious few ever have.

The Full Life: Kristen is constantly on the move, in a continuous cycle of planning, packing and unpacking. Backpacks, shoes, and stuff-sacks litter the doorways and hallways of her South Rim Grand Canyon home. She may be juggling at least a dozen projects or trips at any given time, thriving in adverse and complex conditions, even through stretches of sleeplessness. She is no short timer. Kristen is dedicated, and well on the way to hiking the entire length of the Grand Canyon, on both sides of the Colorado River. Just three years of section hiking after creating this goal, she has completed over 80 percent of the massive trek, which will make her one of only four people, and the only woman to have accomplished its completion.
Why go to such lengths and extremes of effort? The Grand Canyon is still truly one of the most wild, rugged, and remote places on Earth. And despite its general familiarity, the vast majority of the Grand Canyon is not only unknown, but also almost completely undocumented. Kristen Caldon’s photographs walk amongst those classic images that have reflected the true nature of this majestic place down through the ages, but with a new spirit fitting to our own time, when we so urgently need renewed and intimate visual inspiration to protect this world treasure from pressing and ultimately devastating threats.