This series is a collection of musings and images from my time on the road.
July 24, 2014
I got off the train in Brussels and checked the forecast. Rain. More rain. Nonstop rain. Rain forever. Rain for breakfast. Rain for dinner. Rain for probably the rest of our lives. I stepped out onto the street and my umbrella *~immediately~* turned inside out and almost flew down the street. My first thought was “Oh thank God some other city has weather just as bad as New York.” After getting lost and arriving soaked to my AirBnB I laid on my bed and watched the rain hit the windows for an hour. Eventually I put my wet socks back on and trudged out the door. I surrendered to the weather and realized I had the city all to myself. I walked the streets until I got too cold and dropped into a bar where a Parisian man bought me a few Belgian beers. The rain transformed into a mist and I ended up walking the streets until 4am. Brussels has a simple magic. The stone absorbs the rain and somehow becomes greyer than grey. I couldn’t imagine it in the sunlight, nor did I want to.
July 25, 2014
The value of time changes when you travel. It's hard not to realize you're somehow paying for every minute of "wasted" time. We think being in a new place will allow us to let go of our humanity. As if our bad habits and daily frustrations will go on vacation as well. Not true. After my first late rainy night I laid in bed until almost 2 in the afternoon. Whoops. At some point I needed to take the train to Antwerp and connect to a small city called Mol. Countless people told me about the spectacle of the Antwerp train station but nothing really prepared me for my walk into the lobby. I stared in wonder for at least 10 minutes with my head turned up and my mouth open wide. That's one thing I like about traveling alone, when something really hits you, you can just drink it in. Like seeing a movie alone and sitting through the credits. I was supposed to go explore the city but the large clock reminded me that my limited time was spent mostly in bed. All I now know of Antwerp is the station, so I sat on the steps for a while and then boarded my train.
March 28th, 2013
I imagine every human in the world is on a string, and they are falling. As each person falls his string gets longer, growing over time. When two people meet their strings touch, sometimes twisting for days. Eventually they separate… although a few, only a very few, keep twisting until their strings are so tight they almost break. For the most part no one is aware of the fall. They can't see the strings or the touching or the twisting. All they see is worry in what lies ahead, fearful of the empty space below. Sometimes something happens–a death, cancer, a breakup. A marriage, an inspiring poem, a beautiful piano sextet. Everything slows down. Suddenly that person sees their string. They see how far it stretches and how much further it has to go. They see it crossing and recrossing with other strings as a web cascades above that is beyond their capability of view. I think in these moments, where suddenly you sense the string, you begin to understand what it means to be alive.
February 22nd, 2013
The other day when I was on a plane an older woman was sitting next to me. At one point, in between periods of blurry half-sleeps she asked me what I do. I told her I was a photographer. She responded, "Why do you take photographs?" Earlier on the plane I had been focused on my future. I think a lot about my future. I have a lot of anxiety about my future. When I meet someone new I imagine how our lives might play out together. Whether we will become close or if they will wrong me or if I will wrong them or if our time together will only last for that single day. Often when I am looking back on photographs I realize how much I have diluted the beauty that I long ago daydreamed for my future. In portraits the people from my past relationships still love me. That smile–the way they are looking into the camera (really, at me). Sometimes it was fleeting. I didn't know that at the time. I have images of couples from high school that would, today, never lock their arms together in that honest way. Every image is now a daydream turned memory. Since I became a photographer I have often chosen to do something only because it will make a good photograph. Over time I realized that that's not a problem because usually, if it will make a good photograph, it will make a good memory. I think that's why I am a photographer. I write this now after sitting at my computer screen editing down a portrait portfolio of people from my life in the past few years. However, on the plane, I think that all I could say was a mumbled, "because it makes me happy." Although, when I think about it, I guess that's the same thing.
June 2nd, 2012
I walked into the Louvre with romantic expectations. Instead I stood by The Inverted Pyramid and watched visitors do a number of inappropriate and hilarious things beneath the famous sight. I ran into loud groups of young school children and secretly tagged along because, honestly, there is nothing more amazing than listening to little kids chatter in French. I saw old ladies, beautifully dressed, sitting against large windows taking a moment away from the crowds. Don't even get me started on the Mona Lisa. It was a circus and car crash all at the same time. I remember quietly thinking to myself this might actually be what Hell is like. 9,000 iPads, point and shoots, angry parents, and iPhones shoving their way towards a tiny painting behind bulletproof glass. After a few hours I was exhausted and realized I hadn't actually looked at any art. At least not in the way you're supposed to look at art. I started turning corners wherever it looked like the crowds had thinned, searching for a space where I felt less concerned with the human insanity. Eventually I found this room and loved watching this woman in the yellow, having a quiet moment with the statues while I took 9 or 10 slow, deep, breaths.