What the Landscape Tells You
I’ve been making photographs for two decades, since my sophomore year of high school. My camera(s) came with my to college, and then moved with me to each successive city, New York then San Francisco then Baltimore then Brooklyn and now Raleigh. My photographs change with each city, every new landscape tells me what kind of photos I’m supposed to make there. Through college I was interested in expansive landscapes, mirroring the rural setting of my university. When I moved to New York, my photos got claustrophobic and gritty. San Francisco’s photos were cool — a blue tint cast upon everything. When I look at my photos from Baltimore — where I lived for two years while I was in grad school, in a long-distance relationship with my partner in another city, I see solitude. Landscapes and skylines are traded in for smaller moments with a certain stillness I never saw in my previous photographs. When I moved to Brooklyn, the language I developed in Baltimore is expanded, the images opened up again and I figured out how to incorporate what I learned over the last decade.
I’ve been in Raleigh for almost a year and I still haven’t figured out what kind of photographs I’m supposed to make in this city. The photographic language I’d developed over the last few years doesn’t feel right here. I’ve tried. I’ve experimented with landscapes but those don’t feel right either. My eyes wander but don’t land on anything.
I blame the car. I walk less here. There’s not public transportation. The car is an isolation device, separating me from the city in a way I’m still not used too. Part of my process, I’ve written before, is walking. I got on my bike this afternoon, camera around my neck. It wasn’t the same as walking but it felt closer. I saw things I’d driven by countless times before but never noticed. I clicked the shutter over and over. I’ll load them onto my computer and see what emerges. Raleigh still hasn’t told me what my photography here should look like. But for the first time, I felt like I saw the city in a new way; a conversation begins.