New York City visit. May 2015
The first and second photographs were taken back in June of 2014 during my trip to Lewisburg, West Virginia. A few of my friends and I decided to stop at the Blue Bend Rec Area for a little swim. Situated in the midst of the Monongahela National Forest, the scenery was breathtaking and the water was incredibly blue...and incredibly cold. We sat near the gentleman in the second photograph. He was sitting here in the sun smoking a cigar and the whole scene looked like a photograph so I couldn't pass up.
The third photograph was taken in December of 2014 in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, in front of our favorite coffee shop, the former, Hypnocoffee Roastery. There was just something about Chris that made me want to photograph him.
I'm so excited that these photographs have been selected to be a part of Looking at Appalachia and even more thrilled that one of them has been selected to be a part of the traveling print exhibit! Being a part of this project is such an honor and I am so thankful to Roger May for starting up this project.
Penn Station, New York City. 7-28-2014
While waiting for my Amtrak train to arrive at New York's Penn Station, I glanced over to my left and saw a grandmother reading to her granddaughter and I couldn't help but think of my Yai.
My grandmother passed away two years ago while she was in Thailand. She was taking her son's ashes back to his place of birth and she had planned on returning home in a month's time. She fell ill while she was there and was recovering in the hospital when she passed in the middle of the night. It was peaceful, I was told.
I would give anything to have her back with us again. Yai was the matriarch of our family. She was the glue that kept us together regardless of our differences. I only lived 20 mins away but my visits were few and far. I remember seeing her right before she left to go to Thailand. She visited me at my place of work and hugged me before she left and that was the last time. She donated her body to science so we haven't been able to bring her back to the States. This September ends her time as a "Professor" and we will be able to finally bring her ashes back...or so we hope.
This year, most of my work has taken me back and forth to New York City. I must say that it's one of my favorite places to photograph, yet the hardest.
During this particular trip, we went to several beads and bobbles stores in the midtown area. This one welcomed us with a very strong scent of pine and bleach. As we meandered through the feathers, beads, and buttons to the back of the overcrowded store, I saw a young man mopping. He flashed a little smile at me and continued with his work. I wondered about him and what his story could be. In the back of my mind I felt like this photo could be worked into with my DACAmented series. I snapped a photo, but after a few minutes, left empty handed. I still think about what his story could have been from time to time.
My sister rarely smiles. Shortly after her twelfth birthday, I visited her at the Quality Inn my parents happened to be staying in. My stepfather travels around the US for his job and often times in the summer, my mother and sister accompany him. During this trip, Betty had just recently been to church camp and had spent ten days traveling around the Midwest staying in various hotels. She enjoys it, she tells me.
This photograph is a rare and brief moment. My sister doesn't smile for the camera. Betty and I are seventeen years apart and most times I our disconnect. This photograph keeps me close to her.
I get to visit Philadelphia from time to time and have always had a love for the city. During one of my short visits to photograph an engagement session, my friend and I took a drive around town on a mission to scout out possible locations. What we found during our drive were more than locations. I was able to make these photographs while in the passenger seat of her car as we passed by these scenes, capturing city life.