Saturday, September 17, 2016

Lost Photos

Today I had a brief but exciting and inspiring interaction with one of my favorite photographers. As I stalked his Instagram feed, I came across a very simple and beautiful black and white image of a kitchen light. One of those fifties types that look like a carved glass tire bolted to the ceiling. I was instantly transported back to my childhood home, and then this sudden and super intense wave of emotion and nostalgia gripped me and the tears were determined to do what they do. I wish SO MUCH that I had taken some artful photos of the details there that now only live in my memory. By the end, I was so single-mindedly focused on getting it cleared out, and helping my Mom fight cancer, and moving, and trying to settle into a new 30 hour per week job – but damn, I wish I could go back in time and preserve some of those memories.

I thought I had some shots that I could maybe work with, but they all turned out to be snapshots of the evidence of what a crumbling mess it had become, in case the new owner tried to pull some shit (which she was good at).

I'm still looking through the archives, but I found this one in the "Lost Photos" folder. (I can't remember why I named it that.) This was our front yard, just about five years ago, with the beautiful walnut climbing tree – it was English grafted onto black. The tree that passers-by would stop and take photos of. Rightly so. The shed was our pump house. Mostly used to store my Dad's prized garlic and red onions. I was always terrified of the inside, because it housed a well, which I assumed led to the depths of nowhere. 

Or hell. Plus the spiders. OH, the spiders.

This space was so integral in the formation of my young creative spirit. Honestly the kind of thing I don't have words for. You just have to take my word for it.

It's all gone now. I see it five days a week from the perspective of working across the street. What was this stunning tree and cool spooky pump house is now flat dirt and weeds. Sometimes I am overwhelmed by the nostalgia, to a point that I'm not sure how to move forward. I put quite a bit into the making of this image, which felt good, because it needed to be just right – just how I remember.


Sunday, March 13, 2016

You Can't Go Home Again

I work across the street from the house I grew up in – how weird is that? It's technically a ghost town, and when I moved out after high school, my goofball friends and I took the masking tape and changed the population on the town sign from 100 to 99. True story. There's a photo somewhere. (Right, Alex?)

It's hard sometimes, to look over there and see that it's almost nothing of what I remember. But I've been noticing that my Dad's camellias have been blooming like they're going out of style. They were his pride and joy every Spring. The guy that lives there now didn't mind that I went over and cut a bundle of them. What a nice guy.

Sometimes I feel like I try to hold onto things that aren't there anymore. Walking up the steps into the yard, I was overwhelmed by the memories, and how different everything was. The garden is gone, the fences, almost every plant and tree - everything they worked so hard in their free time for. I looked in the spots where my dogs and cat are buried. I never believed that saying, “You can't go home again” - until now.

I brought as many stems home as I could hold. It was the day after a pretty intense weekend storm, so they were a little battered, but still gorgeous. I took dozens of photos of them. As soon as I finished, one popped off of its stem. I forgot how camellias do that – they don't wither...they let go, suddenly and decidedly. Then they decorate the ground for a while before they return to the Earth.

My Dad wouldn't have liked this photo – black and white wasn't his thing. Especially with his gorgeous candy cane camellias. But I'm not the boss of the photos – just the conduit to bring them into their own light. This one wanted to be dark and moody and beautiful in its shoegazey sadness. 

Who am I to argue?