You Don’t Have to Go Home…

In July of 2021, I went home for a few days to help my mom recover from a minor surgery. While she rested, I roamed around town aimlessly – much like I did as a bored suburban teenager, only this time I had a camera. I visited the new high school sports stadium and watched a baseball game. I took in the bright lights of a main street smoke shop. In the morning I laid down in my mom’s backyard and looked up, noticing for the first time all the edges and angles of the house. I photographed the doctors office and the faux-mod furnishings of the waiting room. Nothing felt flashy or out of place. I think what drew me in visually was the normalcy of everything – the familiarity that both draws us back and forces us to leave.

My darkroom days started in high school as a sophomore in the Graphic Arts program of South Shore Vo. Tech. I loved the massive copy camera and processing huge sheets of film in giant trays of chemistry. I never thought about photography or equated what I was doing with any kind of artistic practice, but I always returned to the process and consistently found inspiration there. I got my first camera in college, so I never photographed the town where I spent my teenage years after we moved out of the city and settled in the South Shore suburbs. As a city transplant and a typically self-obsessed teen I was largely indifferent to my small town surroundings, too wrapped up in the usual social drama that dominated the brief time I spent there before moving to the mountains and discovering photography.

Maybe my 17-year-old self could have seen something interesting in Rockland, Massachusetts, but I wasn’t looking for it then, and that’s ok. My perspective now is less cynical, more sympathetic, and even a little deadpan at times. So when I went back home with my camera, it’s not that what I saw was any more interesting, I just knew what to look for.