The Long Way Home


From Nowhere
February 11, 2014, 8:49 PM
Filed under: Pennsylvania | Tags: , , , ,
Sunburst, McKees Rocks.

Sunburst, McKees Rocks.

Recently at a party, I chatted briefly with a woman who coincidentally grew up in a town near the one I’m from. Coraopolis..which high school? I shook my head, for some reason apologetic that I went to a tiny high school that nobody ever heard of, feeling the old, familiar tug in my chest that I spent years trying to shake: trying to explain Nowhere to people who are from Somewhere. I spent my adolescence dreaming of escape, and most of my twenties and thirties trying to find ways to get the hell out of nowhere and off to somewhere, figuring once I arrived, I’d have it figured out. But somewhere along the way, I slowed down, paid attention, looked around, admitted: I like coming from nowhere. I like finding other places in the middle of nowhere, and documenting them for others to see, so that they too can go nowhere and see lives lived beyond all the places in the world that everyone typically wants to be. I love driving to different parts of the city and walking streets I thought I knew. I love being the passenger along roads I know with eyes shut, identifying them by their twists and turns. I love driving along Island Avenue, the road to Coraopolis through McKees Rocks – the route that I’d take to visit my mother. I know this road by the way the light dappled across row houses in late morning, and by the dark, black clouds that shook out a rainstorm one frightening summer afternoon, causing a flash flood. I know the view from the McKees Rocks Bridge, the way the sunset bounces off the gold dome of the Orthodox church in the Bottoms – it always leaves me lighthearted, happy, even – a beacon of hope after my mother died. And one late morning on our way somewhere, Jeff and I finally did stop the car so  I could take these photos, because the October light was too beautiful for me to resist. It’s strange to look back at more ordinary moments like these, not knowing the cold, endless winter awaiting us, the creative ways we’ve spent our time as we push towards spring.

Apartment building, early 1900s, McKees Rocks.

Apartment building, early 1900s, McKees Rocks.

Found next to Pierogies Plus.

Found next to Pierogies Plus.

Vacancy.

Vacancy.

Forest-like alley.

Forest-like alley.

Early morning, another time.

Early morning, another time.

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Bellevue: A Study in Light
October 28, 2013, 7:18 AM
Filed under: Pennsylvania | Tags: , , , , , , ,
evening in Bellevue.

Evening in Bellevue.

Bellevue is a small town off Route 65 along the Ohio River, across from Neville Island. It’s most famous around the area for its “Live, Worship, Shop” sign and for being one of the few dry towns. It’s like most river towns in Western Pennsylvania: crumbling brick roads winding up steep hills with clusters of large, early 19th-century homes, some a little bruised from the wear, but perfect for people like Jeff and me who don’t mind. When I was in junior high, I wrote an essay on three things I wanted to carry out in life which I found recently among my mother’s papers: 1. To travel to Hungary (check). 2. To write a book of short stories (half-check) and 3. To live in a giant, old house. Any time Jeff and I pass a late-Victorian with a rambling porch, we argue over who gets to set up their cave in the tower. Now I want a place of our own with empty, clean space flooded in light.

this is jody

This is Jody.

indian summer

indian summer

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Late Summer
August 11, 2013, 8:53 AM
Filed under: Pennsylvania | Tags: , , , , ,

 

Pittsburgh on a hot July evening

Pittsburgh on a hot July evening

I don’t want to be one of those people who boasts how “busy” they are just to make themselves sound important. We’re all busy, but my busy-ness, I realize lately, is a self-imposed one, a way for me to push off feeling what I need to wade through: this business of grief. It’s year three, I’m starting to feel “normal” again, and this in itself is confusing. I’ll get to that in another post, but I’ve taken on too much, thinking I can do it all, when I just need to learn to feel the moment, right? Our goal for 2013 was “Get Shit Organized,” and so far, it’s working: a savings plan in place, paying down debt, cleaning up the studio (which has taken over a month. As you can imagine, we had a lot of things to clear out of there to make it workable again). There are setbacks, but hey, I roll with the punches – albeit with loads of anxiety, which makes some days a little precarious to balance. Things that have given me a push: photography, of course. And reading old Nancy Drew books. Oh, and indulging in all seven seasons of Tales from the Crypt, which Jeff hates because he thinks the crypt keeper is really lame. Friends who know me better than anyone. Knowing that when it all comes down to it, it’ll all work out.

standing in the space of "nowhere house"

standing in the space of “nowhere house”

we parked and found this

pittsburgh chair 

my first full-length photo shoot in our rearranged studio

a photo shoot in our rearranged studio

experimenting with available light

experimenting with available light

found graffiti on s. windebiddle

found graffiti on s. windebiddle

one last shot in the spectra. i ran out of the house to capture it.

one last shot in the spectra. i ran out of the house to capture it.



Sunday Afternoon
January 13, 2013, 10:37 AM
Filed under: Art Gallery | Tags: , , , ,
sunday afternoon

sunday afternoon

I’ve mentioned this before, but I keep a photo journal to sketch out concepts or images that pop into my head when I’m doing something else (more like diagrams and text – my drawing talents are nil). What I’ve learned from this process is that the ideas serve mainly as the starting point for a photo shoot – rarely do my first ideas ever come out on film. It’s part of my orderly nature to go in armed with a plan, but the unpredictability of film is teaching me the art of letting go. Last Sunday I went to Sarah‘s, thinking she had a window seat in her new apartment. And that the day was going to be cold, yes, but sunny. And that my timer wouldn’t be a bastard as I hooked it on the camera. None of this was true, and Sarah was patient through the afternoon as I worked with what the day gave me.

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