I decided to try something a little different for this one. I have been so wrapped up in the In Parentheses project since starting this webpage that I need a little break. This is my submission for the Tokyo International Photography Festival this year for the theme origin. Selected images from the A Certain Distance series.
Who are we? Where do we come from? Where do we belong? 25 years ago I woke up in a hospital with no memory of how I had gotten there. It was one of those moments that changes the entire course of your life. A Certain Distance is a series of images exploring my inability to form personal relationships after having returned to my native country. Reverse culture shock, the slow dissolution of a marriage, the ongoing struggle with mental health issues and growing resentment with myself for being completely unable to change things.
I remember thinking that these weren't the images I wanted to take. That if I was being honest I should be taking pictures of my destroyed living room after having woken up on the floor with no memory at all, empty bottles strewn everywhere, overflowing ashtrays. Life now is often measured in the time between cigarettes. This was not the first time I had changed countries and entire cultures so completely. Maybe that is what made it so difficult.
That feeling that I should've known... It is so strange that even when things are completely broken we still try to hold on to the pieces. All those dangerously sharp shards of glass. I didn't realize that in trying to hold things together, in desperately averting my gaze from what was happening right in front of me, I would make it even worse. That the distance I needed to maintain the fantasy would separate me entirely from other people. It is impossible to have a connection to someone who can't connect.
The images in this series are in some ways equally fragmented. Lives that no longer exist and disjointed memories that have become a dream mix with now. The myth we perceive as ourselves. They are not the whole of the story but they are some of the pieces I am trying to hold onto, put back together, make sense of. They exist in that contradictory space between what I know and what I feel. A close friend once told me, be careful, do you want to know the truth or do you want to be happy? I sometimes wonder what it would have been like if I had chosen happy.