Here is a picture I took the night after I ended the longest romantic relationship of my life. 

I came home from Vincent and Nora’s that night and noticed how the sky and moon looked. I knew I wanted to document that night but I didn’t really know why. There’s supposed to be some sort of moon transit right now, according to my astrology app. Last night it looked like a wide piece of cantaloupe, hiding behind low clouds, as I walked home from the bus. I didn’t exactly realize it at the time, because I was more relieved than sad, but the night I took this picture was one of the first nights in two years that I didn’t call him before I fell asleep. I set up the tripod and pointed it up, sideways, every which way, to photograph the sky. I shot most of a roll, and then I put the tripod in my driveway where he’d park, and stood under the weak floodlight at the front door to my apartment to fire the shutter. 

I did not think my entire life would upend itself after I ended my relationship. My parents’ house will have changed completely the next time I visit. I myself might be moving apartments- a change of scenery would be nice, considering this is the first time I’ve broken up with someone and stayed living in the same place, afterwards (though I’ve never lived with a partner). ICP all but closed, meaning I lost access to an Imacon scanner. While this sounds sort of conceited, drum scans have been pivotal to my artistic process since 2015, and figuring out a new process is a challenge. The scan you are looking at is a flatbed scan from my boss’s work scanner. My future scans will either be expensive or sloppy, like this one. 

The only word I can use to describe how I have felt lately is unmoored. I find myself resonating heavily with the person I was during the summer of 2015, the last time I was single for longer than a month or so. Part of this is the being single and the other part is that I was so strikingly alone during that period of my life - as I am now. A brief but intense relationship ended that February and that summer was spent trying to pick out all the stitches left in me. It was also spent panicking about death. I’ve been thinking about how quickly the last four years of my life have gone by, and fending off a lot of similarly negative and panicky thoughts in the process. It would be interesting to try and visualize what those fears mean to me - all I feel like I’ve been able to do lately is exist within them.

Eventually those fears subside. It’s been a month since I took this picture. I know how to take care of myself. I want to foster a stronger relationship to my work. I’m planning trips to different states, places I’ve never been. I’m doing all the right things. I have reasons to feel unmoored but I have better reasons to feel strong and resilient. The reason I have had trouble writing this out is that I assume no one wants to hear about my personal shit, despite the fact that it’s the main thing I write and photograph about. So here I am: looking my tenderness in the face, acknowledging it for what it is, loving it (even if that means photographing it in the dark).


Here are four pictures I took the last time I was in Maryland - the last one of the sunset through the trees is in my sister’s backyard in Richmond. I’m back in Maryland again tonight. I have had a hell of a week, and am in an all-too-familiar pattern of waiting for the days to seem less long, and for my sadness to seem less pressing. So I’m comforting myself with these pictures of trees. Below is a short blurb I wrote on what being depressed has meant for my work, at the request of someone putting together a project based on the experience of making photographs while depressed.


In my statement I name memory, loss, and uncertainty as the main motivation behind my work. These are all byproducts of my depression. When I started working on this project, I was fresh out of college and lacked direction, without feedback. I kept photographing, though, and two years later I’ve noticed that when I’m not making pictures, it’s very hard to see past my own sadness. I photograph, and live, in spite of my depression.  
I am surrounded by change and feel like my life has been constantly in flux since this project started. The uncertainty comes from the fact that the places I return to, to make pictures, change interminably each time I return. I have a mild fixation on documenting things as they are in a given moment, in order to not lose those pieces of myself. This can be said about my portraits too- my nephew keeps getting bigger, my mother keeps getting frailer, every time I see them. The actual subjects are the feelings I had at these places, with these people, and since the feelings are in the past, I’ve found they can only be revisited through my photographs. The images are less documentarian, however, than they are manifestations of a past long gone, before the things I photograph are changed or gone forever. 


I’m going to get off my ass and drive around and make some pictures. 



This time of year comes around painfully slowly, every time, like when you make a turn down a block you know you haven’t been down in a long time and won’t go down for another long while. It’s hard to trust perfectly nice spring days because, on a perfectly nice spring day four years ago, the world lost you. I don’t admit it often but the truth is you’re in every empty space I photograph in the places I’m from and the places I go. I keep telling myself I’ll be done making work about you and the truth is you keep showing up, often when I least expect it. I wasn’t going to write to you today but this afternoon in the gallery, behind a woman in a projection of a Garry Winogrand photograph, I found the better part of your name, and knew it was you showing up again. 

Four years is a long time and also absolutely nothing. The only thing that makes it easy to live freely, knowing it can all be swept away in an instant, knowing how quickly loss can pull the rug out from under your feet, is that I know you’d live as freely as you could, if you were still here. As I grow further away from being the age I was when you died I realize your loss has, at times, become greater than your character, and that frustrates and scares me. I wondered the other day how long your hair might have grown before remembering you’re on your parents’ mantel, in their house with a yellow door in Takoma Park. But you’re also on every street we drove down, in every long shadow of a tree, in every stupid Yankees homer. I want to tell you about stupid Aaron Judge and all the dumb shit Kanye is doing, I want to make the joke about the president of Burundi and remind you of who you were to me, once. Today I’m remembering you for the person you were and all of the you that might have been. The world is just a little bit dimmer without you but it’s what’s inspired me to try and brighten it as much as I can, even after all this time. I miss you- thanks for saying hi today.


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