Close To Home: A Photographic Series
Family photographs have long served the function of preserving memory, of making transitory experience into something that can be handed down or carried with us, providing a shield against time, a salve for loss. Beauty and wonder are easily found in the strange and the far away, but the deepest and perhaps most fragile beauty often lies in that which is the most familiar.
I began this series of photographs of my family and hometown in Louisiana not long after I left there and soon after the unexpected death of my father. Like most us, and particularly most Southerners, I was brought up with the belief that moving forward in life often requires looking back, back towards home, that laser point on the horizon by which one learns to clarify the angles and shapes of any new experience.
As a photographer, I eventually found my way home by returning to the backyards and levees of my childhood in Louisiana, by observing the world I have known and watched for as long as I can remember. In the beginning, I was more intent on a scrutiny that might provide an explanation for my sense of loss, for what happened, or a sign of what might happen next. Only gradually did I began to understand that to see clearly, it is often important to remain in the darkness of not-knowing, driven by questions rather than answers, guided more by instinct than ideas.
Photographs, stories, scrapbooks, a diary. Everyday experience is, for each of us, an imaginative and subjective construction of the facts, assembled from the concrete building blocks of real people and real events. No matter the path I pursue or the medium I employ in my work it is always the tenacious roots of personal and cultural identity that shapes my perspective. For me, all roads begin and end close to home.