This project is a self portrait.
It 100% is a self portrait.
I identify with the abandoned places I visit, investigate, converse with and shoot. They are me, I am them.
These places were of ultimate purpose and importance, there is no more vital function for anything in this world to have than to provide comfort, shelter, safety. A place where the private and intimate stories of families take place. A home is as much a part of the family as is is the vessel that contains them. It has life, it has purpose, it is strong and reliable and gives its dwellers safe haven from the world.
It is both womb and fortress, it is as vital to our survival as the blood in our veins.
Until is not. There is NOTHING more tragic than to see a structure lose its purpose, to be devoid of family, to have its rooms be empty. No laughter, no crying, no sounds of love. Paint peels, wallpaper hangs, floors sag and roofs bow. Windows become cloudy as cataracts on a eye, panes crack, the weather comes in. Boards rot, walls fall, foundations crumble and what was once the protector of families, the shelter from the world, is gone.
Its tragic, it’s a slow lonely demise of these once strong places.
Yes, they are self portraits.
I have been struggling with mental and physical health for some time now. I was once strong, capable, a provider and a hard worker. I worked in positions where I offered safety, shelter for my staff, I shielded them, protected them and gave them a safe haven. I wasn’t always perfect, but neither were the folks who worked for me, thats ok though, I still remained there for them. Until I wasn’t. I am unable to work in those positions now, I cannot commit to a schedule, I don’t know from one day to the next where my pain levels will be. I am collapsing, my foundations are crumbling and he who was once the provider, the shelter from the word, is gone.
Don’t worry, that’s not the end of the story.
There is a dignity and a beauty to these places, and, I believe, there is a dignity and a beauty to my life now. It might not be the conventional beauty of the young and strong, but its the elegant beauty of grace in the face of change, adversity and deterioration.
I seek out these places NOT to record the deterioration, the decay. I seek out these places to discover and record the beauty in them. To celebrate what they were as well as finding the joy in what they have become. In all stages of life, be it the life of a home, a town, a person, there are different aspects of grace to find. Youth has speed and strength and optimism, our middle years bring us love of family, children, career, age brings is wisdom and experience, the ability to appreciate the smallest of things. These are the moments I want to record and share with ” Where Once We Stood”, I want to tell the story of the lives lived, in all its stages, and through that work tell my story of the life I am living, though all its stages and changes.
You can help me tell this story.
I need encouragement and support this coming summer in particular to start on this path. I am confident that once I have a body of work, a book, two books, a show and the notoriety that goes with it, I will be fine. I won’t feel the stress and anxiety of needing to do something, at a core level, and not be able to do it because I lack the resources to make it happen. There is a great emptiness that appears in me when I think about places I need to go, forgotten places I need to help people remember but I can’t go there because of a lack of the resources I need.
You can provide support by reading my blog entries, sharing them, retweeting my work, liking it, telling your friends, your family about it. Get the word out. There is untold power in being “known” and with it comes the benefit of becoming legitimate. That goes a long way in the application of funding, shows, exhibitions, publishing deals. It costs nothing to do and is the single biggest investment you can make in a creators life.
You can also help by purchasing something from me.
There are always prints and canvases available in my shop. In fact there will be a section in my portfolio what will have the photos I capture during “Where Once We Stood” available to purchase. My work is printed by the premium ART HOUSE in Newfoundland and shipping in Canada is free.
You can purchase one of my Annual Calendars, they are now available for pre-purchase and will be available for mailing in June of this year. This venture, the calendars, is the single biggest thing I do to support my craft. You can help make it possible for me to reinvest into my project and get the resources I need by purchasing this Calendar. The wonderful thing about the calendar is that it was curated by YOU, my social media following, you all chose the photos for each month, it was truly a collaborative event and it is special because of it.
For a limited time you can help with my Kickstarter. There’s only 44 days left as of the time of this entry, and there is a huge hill to climb to get to the target I have set, but I am confident we can get there. If you know of a company, or a altruistic group or individual who would be interested in this project, or if you are indeed one of those folks, please consider backing. There are some amazing rewards to be had including free signed copies of the books and a voice in what gets selected as cover work etc.
You can also buy me a coffee at any time. I love this platform and I myself use it to purchase coffees for fellow creators all the time. Its been critical to my success and ability to grow my kit. I was able to purchase video resources through the kindness of my coffee crew.
This is a story that I need to tell. It’s a personal story I know, its me finding myself reflected in the places I shoot, but I am hopeful, certain even, that many of you can find yourselves in these works as well. I hope you enjoy the journey, my promise is to make it as engaging and provoking as I can. I am always open to discourse as well. If you at any point of the project have questions, please, ask away.
I will also be performing live interactive sessions from some of the sites I visit this summer, I love interacting with the folks who are enjoying my work, or even the ones who aren’t. We never learn if we don’t hear from and interact with folks who are NOT in our camp.
Thanks for reading this morning, and thanks for your support.
Thank you for helping me explore myself, our province and our shared history and connections.