Communities are built of relationships and marked by the connectivity of the people who live in them. They are nurtured by collective experiences. When they are strong they help us realize that the environment in which we live is always shared. They help us understand that the environment is a large part of who we are. For more than 20 years I have documented the annual Fourth of July celebration in Ester, a thriving mining town during the gold-rush era, described by some sources as a ghost town. The Ester Potluck, Pig Roast and Parade is one longstanding tradition that brings my primary community together. Welcome to The Republic of Ester. [documentary photography]