In an effort to break away from my norm, (i.e. blue flowers and self-portraits) I began going through some older work from my Leaving Home Behind series. It is a photo essay that takes place at Evergreen Village, a trailer park out in Sycamore, IL. This trailer park has existed along the Kishwaukee River for several decades. However, being so close to the river has caused severe flooding issues over the years. I began photographing it a few years ago. At first I was just drawn to its aesthetic, I quickly learned that this place was in the process of a FEMA buyout and soon all the residents would be relocated and this place would be bulldozed to the ground. I spent many Sundays there, getting to know the residents and the details of the architecture. Unfortunately, this place is no more. The time has finally come to put this work to bed… It will eventually become a park for other residents of Sycamore to enjoy. It once was home to many people who did not want to move, despite all the trouble they had.
This image was shot intentionally out of focus. It was always intended to be shown as an abstract, the in focus image is part of my series. I title it Terrible Vision because of the visual obstruction that is created. Like driving into the sunset, looking through a dirty windshield. However, the metaphor is powerful and can be applied to many aspects of life. So often we get caught up in our own frame of thinking, and for whatever reason, are unable to see beyond two inches in front of our own nose. As I write, I am reminded of the Fiona Apple song, Window. She sings, ” I was staring out the window… It was a filthy pane of glass. I couldn’t get a clear view… It wasn’t the outside world I could see, just the filthy pain I was looking through.”
I find these lyrics to be so powerful. So often I have been in her shoes. She later sings, “I had to break the window. It was in my way.” There is an old Buddhist proverb that sates:
It is only when the fire scorches us
That we truly begin to awaken
So, when your view is so obstructed by whatever pain you may be feeling. Feel it, move though it and kick the wall down.
Patti Smith once said, “When you hit a wall, just kick it in.” I find so much truth in that.