Pinhole Camera Photograhy
Summer of 2015. I decide I want to be fourteen years old again; that magic age where I explored the neighborhood woods, played baseball with my friends and made things with my hands. I want to go back to a time filled tree houses, go-carts, sulfur-burning science experiments, and black and white photographic prints created in my basement darkroom.
I began my journey by making a pinhole camera. Next, I decided to photograph the places in my current neighborhood where my fourteen-year-old self might have spent his summer in the early 70’s: the outdoor basketball courts, the baseball field, the railway tracks. I had expected the pinhole images to be upbeat and filled with the joy of boyhood, but surprisingly, they were filled with a sense of loss and abandonment. Images of those empty basketball courts, baseball fields and railway tracks were anxiety-provoking and disturbing. I was very familiar with this feeling from previous projects, but I had hoped that this one would be different. Was this anxiety always going to surface when I embarked on a new project that was based on my memories? What were the alternatives? Stop this photographic self-exploration? Photograph landscapes instead?
As I thought about this, I realized a sense of isolation and separateness had long been a part of my life. The feelings had lessened over the years as the result of personal introspection and various therapeutic processes, but here it was again in full force as I photographed images related to my early adolescence. Was there ever a time I didn’t feel this way?
Well…yes. Before. Before my father’s bipolar disease began. Before my world fell apart. Before age 7.