The Walking Woman

Tanyth Berkeley

2011 - 2015

The images that make up this submition are a small sample, an excerpt from a recently completed book project entitled “The Walking Woman.” “The Walking Woman” tells the story of two seemingly very different American women living in the South West: Ruth Cooke, an outcaste and pious member of the polygamist Mormon sect, the FLDS, and Spice Slaymaker a recovering methamphetamine addict.

While I originally set out to tell the story of Ruth Cooke, I met Spice Slaymaker in the process of shooting and was surprised to learn both women had shared many similar life experiences. I discovered both women (though because of different circumstances) had rebelled against set norms and suffered the consequences, both had been seen as “bad women”, both had been institutionalized, incarcerated and had lost custody of their children, both lived in abject poverty and both had become marginalized by their communities and families as a result. Many of my images document a respite from the every day, the simple, expansive pleasures of leaving ones past behind to enjoy the present.

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