The Long Way Home


Homestead/Smokestack

 

From Homestead/Smokestack. Text, image and sound collaboration with Jeff.

From Homestead/Smokestack

In summer of 2013, Jeff and I collaborated on a project documenting cities through text, image, and sound. I knew right away I wanted to photograph Homestead, the town right outside city limits, where my young parents chose to start their lives together in the early 70s. I have vague memories of the house on E. 9th: what little I remember is fueled by my mother’s stories and a box of photographs. I used expired Polaroid film to show the types of found family photos in my collection. I shot one set and they didn’t turn out as planned, then went back a few months later to reshoot, happier with the last images. That August day was oppressively hot, and as we lurked through alleyways, batting away tiny gnats that flew into my camera lens, I found it comforting and strange how much everything looked the same. In between photo visits, I spent weeks writing a 750-word essay paragraph by paragraph. It is about my parents and what they gave to me, and what I have left: fragments of personal history. Throughout that summer, Jeff spent time in the studio, rearranging photos on the floor while playing the guitar. He recorded what he heard walking Homestead streets. He wrote down the sounds that he loved, then attempted to recreate them at home through samples and make-shift instruments. He asked me questions about what the inside of my first home looked like then and imagined what it looked like today. He listened.

(Text, images and sound: Contraphonic Sound Series.)

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