7/2/2018

But christ, that melancholy. 

Have you had a weight sit on your chest so firmly that it wouldn’t even move to let you sleep? Pressing into you, while also tightening a vice grip around the back of your neck, while also fogging your memory in a cloud that spins up your hours and days and weeks? Have you honestly ever felt so sad that moments in which there’s nothing at all to be sad about hardly feel real to you? When your sadness becomes an anchor, a home, a hole to disappear into? 

I don’t know if it was solely the sudden death of someone I loved, I think it sparked something else: I started to wonder what else there was besides the dogged pursuit I came to New York for, uprooted my life for. I stopped examining the pictures I took– I composed and tried as hard as I could, but god, so often, then, and so often, now, I couldn’t try. There are things that drive me now, thankfully, and most days are better than others, and I can get out of bed again, but remembering how absolutely, completely down I felt: it was the same kind of dearth you feel when you sink to the bottom of a swimming pool, when you close your eyes and let out all the air. 

And over time I got past it; over time I found victories and joys that did not feel bittersweet because of their infrequency; I formed friendships that have floated me past the sharpest pains; I learned to trust myself more, and grew into a person I mostly favor. Today I bought a swimsuit and a cap and goggles and am going to drag my ass to exercise at least once a week. Today I want to remember trying, so that when I can’t try (which is okay), I don’t feel like I’m never able to.


5/20/2018

On the way to Myrtle-Broadway a couple months ago. 

Recently a friend with a master’s degree and a steady salary in a prominent industry was explaining something he thought I was unfamiliar with, how the city will open the faucets on fire hydrants during the summer “in relatively low-income neighborhoods to accommodate for people who can’t afford air conditioning.” He and his girlfriend have an apartment in Midtown. I sat where I was and looked at him, and remembered this picture, and the fire hydrant down the street that was turned on last weekend. “Where do you think I live, exactly?” I asked him. 

Home is an odd concept. I can’t think of living anywhere but my current apartment, but I couldn’t have thought up my current apartment when I was looking for somewhere to live a year ago. Some people I know would have turned down my apartment for differing reasons– the neighborhood, the bars on the windows, the long walk to the L train or any nightlife. But last weekend I got together with some friends and had a garden party in my backyard, an opportunity I am afforded in my apartment, and I felt beyond lucky just to invite people into the place in which I live.

And god do I get tired thinking about change. People around me are uprooting and changing their environments constantly. I imagine quitting my job and becoming an underwear model and I get exhausted thinking about holding poses for too long. Anyone would tell me I need to exercise more, get into a better self-care routine. All I want to do is curl up in my bed, in this neighborhood, where everything outside is supposed to be busy and loud, but somehow knows how to get so quiet that all you can hear are the leaves rustling outside, faraway sirens in the dead of night.


5/8/2018

I’m certain I’ve sent this photograph for my newsletter before, but it got a lot of love this past weekend, and I want to revisit it.

Recently I took a manager job at my restaurant. For months I had told myself that if they offered it to me, I wouldn’t take it, for a lot of reasons. But I started to think about what it meant, and ultimately decided I’d be great and that it wasn’t an opportunity I wanted to pass up. This means I have a salary, which is great, but it does also mean I have less free time to spend “doing what I came to New York to do.” That was the biggest drawback. Every time I put out a fire for my work, a new one sparks up, and it hasn’t given me time to catch my breath just yet. I have a new tattoo I want to pick at, I kind of want to run for the hills about everything. But those itches will scratch themselves in time.

If I set time aside to write I will get the writing done, like now. If I set aside the time and money to do the things I want to do (which I can, now, thankfully), they will get done. In the next year I want to do another book. In the next year I want to travel to Europe, alone, and see things I’ve wanted to see basically my whole life. In the next year I want to be able to sit and look out my window like I am now, watch the leaves rustle away in the wind, sit around with my friends and do nothing, listen to new music. While I have my hindrances about this next part of my life I also know how determined I am to make it work out, how I have the capacity to create a solid work environment and self-sustaining store as well as keeping my head over water and enjoying myself. 

And going home to make photographs like this. This was taken right after I visited Lowell’s house the last time, January 2017. I made a few pictures there that ended up in Big Empty (which did not make it to the exhibition), in and amongst the presence of his ashes, and then found myself driving to the Thunderdome in the freezing night. I spent my senior spring shooting the baseball team there, including Lowell. Friday will be three years since he died, unceremoniously, swift, as though none of us had a say in the matter. At times I still feel cheated out of time with him in my life, but I look at this picture, I look at the picture I took of the stars that night, how I spent that long exposing the light, how the camera shifted to cause the stars to fall. And in remembering that, my perspective changes on the whole thing, and I breathe a little easier. 

I took this after the picture of the stars, because the sign at the softball field was easier to juxtapose with the empty parking lot, the cars passing on University Boulevard behind it. I remember watching the cars go by and being excited they’d be in the shot– it’s the first time I captured light quite like that on film. It keeps the fence in the frame, it organizes the visual elements, it’s a highlight key, it drags you through the shroud of darkness around the corners. It’s my favorite part of the picture. 

The great thing is I already know which baseball field I’m going to photograph next.


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