Kunming, China- One thing that I love and hate about shooting voyeuristically is that I don't know what's going on in the situation. I can sit there and watch for hours and make my own assumptions, but at the end of the day, they're my assumptions, which aren't always correct. This is both a blessing and curse. There is a part of me that really wants to know what those men are talking about, what their lives are like at home, are they happy, sad, who their friends are, etc…, but the other part of me loves that I don't know, nor will I ever know. I've captured a scene that has endless beginnings and endings, but within the infinite there is this one moment, and to me, that one moment speaks volumes.
Santa Monica, California - The outward expression of emotion in this photo series is incredibly simple, however what's occurring on the inside is beyond me. I can see that one of these people is really enjoying themselves, and one isn't, but I have no idea what is going on inside their heads. And that's amazing.
An uneasy feeling runs through the city like a thick fog. People waiting, not knowing, with no understanding of the future, or what it holds. They sit in their coffee shops, shielded by the glass as they look out in to the unkown, purposefully unaware of the struggle outside. Behind the façade of pristine waterfalls, and lush grassy fields lies a problem that nobody cares to see: A cave of uncertainty. Dark and lonely are the people inside.
Clouds fill the skies overhead as I walk down barren streets, peering down alleys and around corners, looking for any sign of life. I stand on the leeward side of a concrete column, a relic of a dying industry. The arctic breeze permeates the city, ever present and always near, chilling to the core. It's inescapable.
The sun rises further in the sky. City life quietly moves unseen around me. The hum of distant traffic is an undertone while melodic birds sit on the wires above. Occasionally the sound of conversation will float by; but it's rarely locatable, always somewhere off in the distance, as if just around the corner; a whisper on the wind.
I start to notice people scurrying around like rats in a maze, avoiding the bitter-cold wind outside. The empty streets become a canvas for life. I wait patiently for someone to walk by. My face and hands go numb from the cold. From down the street, a young man walks briskly uphill toward a nondescript building. Walking with intent, he passes in front of me. A brushstroke. One moment in time captured. His feelings and emotions are immortalized.
Spring is closing in. Walking further from the ocean, I notice that the beautiful architecture no longer towers above. Instead, drab government housing becomes commonplace. Garbage is littered about in the nooks and crevices of the city. Graffiti is plastered high up the walls of apartments.
Tucked in between worn houses, hidden from the wind, children line up along a wall as they listen to music and smoke cigarettes. Corrugated metal bounces the sun's rays as they bask in the afternoon light. Their talk is light hearted, youthful, but it inevitably shifts and the mood changes. Their park is going to be demolished and replaced with a senior citizen's center, one boy says. Sullen looks sweep across their faces. They quietly soak up their memories, taking in the sights; the street art, the trees, the shade, the anxiety of a youth struggling to make a place in the world.
Idaho- Farmlife. Every spring gives rise to new crops, new livestock, new trials. Under the watchful eye of the farmer, the cycle is never ending. However, as hard times wash over the land and the light fades in his soul, the farm falls into disarray. Bills pile up high on the kitchen table. Phone calls from collectors go unanswered. What was once a fruitful farm is now a monument to the past. As the farmer drives away, looking back one last time, tears escape his eyes and fall to the ground. Ground that he shaped with his bare hands. Ground that created so much life.
Like a river, time carries us through life. Weaving in and out of currents, crossing paths with others only to be separated just as quickly. Every rock changes our course and every waterfall sends us spinning out of control. Past and present mix, while the future is always around the next corner, waiting for us.
I'm standing outside, peering through windows to the past. A breeze blows the dead grass around me. Insects and birds chirp from the fields, buzzing about, fluttering overhead. I step inside. Pink wallpaper peels down the walls as the smell of earth and decay rises up. Forgotten memories of footsteps race down the hallway. The inhabitants have long since vanished, but their past remains. As I walk down the hall, Their memories float around me like leaves on the wind, echoing a life lived and lost. The the only audible sound is the creaking of the floorboards under my weight.
I glance out the window to the back. A windmill stands erect, rusted, motionless. Equipment that used to till the land lay scattered about in the weeds. What was once a beloved farm, is now forgotten. Garbage. A blight on the land. With each cautious step I feel connected and for a brief moment, my heart fills with sadness for those whose lives had been upended.
Driving away, I can't help but anxiously think about the path that I have chosen in life, who I might run in to, and where it might take me.