When I was a kid, I thought the woods behind my house were sick because the ground was covered in dead leaves. In movies the forest floors were fit for barefoot strolling, carpeted in grasses and wildflowers. It took many woods to prove that the earthen version of my backyard was indeed healthy, that decay is a natural occurrence.
My mother works for an airline. As part of her benefits my family could travel for free if there was space available. We visited a lot of places in brief interludes, whatever could fit into a weekend. I always felt cheated of the time that’s necessary to know a place and to say that you’ve seen it. When I asked her about this she told me that a place is just a composition of little things; people waving to each other or not, state birds and stray dogs, powerlines, alleyways, harbors, parking lots, accents, inches of rain per year, smokestacks, soil, the shoes the teenagers are wearing. These details became my proof of having seen and thus having been.
The photos are taken in medium or large format film and then printed digitally. I try to minimally affect the images at each stage of production, seeking a faithful representation of the moment of capture. The final print is an attempt to verify reality’s magic by film’s metric. I work in film despite and sometimes because of its precise and delicate materiality; how it slows me down; that mistakes made have to be lived with, can sometimes be beautiful; the waiting and the wondering. My process is to walk and look, to not wear headphones or sunglasses, take ferries, trains and buses, be an intrepid stranger.
‘Subplots’ is a series taken over two years in locations ranging from Kosovo to Indiana, Miami to the Pyrenees. I sought the unfamiliar but found something close-worn, a story I’d maybe heard before. These stories are about land, animals, and the structures they build, nothing ever as strange or as plain as I imagine it in advance.