C-Print, 18" x 24"
Our childhood homes are very often backdrops for our memories—connected with comfort, relationships, family, friends, and the traditional rituals that give meaning to our lives. As children, others make the decision of where we live. The feeling of home comes from within—defined by an internal response to place, it is based on our personal, emotional understandings and connections to place. I grew up in the farmlands of a small rural town in Central New Jersey—a distinct contrast to the large metropolis where I currently reside. The surrounding woods and cornfields were my escape; they gave me the opportunity to be a kid. The isolation I found also enabled me to detach from my parents’ sour and volatile relationship. This instilled in me a desire and need to explore, coupled with an insatiable curiosity for adventure. Sourland reimagines the landscape of my childhood—from which I have been estranged for over 35 years. It highlights a desire to remember and raises psychological and metaphoric questions about uncertainty, displacement and loss. It documents my attempt to revisit my past and the relationship I once had with my hometown. During regular visits to the places I knew well as a kid, I was caught off guard by how distant and strange my hometown felt to me as an adult. I was an outsider looking in. My childhood friends and neighbors were long gone, replaced with the unfamiliar. Fences, dividing neighbors and making claim to property lines, now bind open backyards where I once ran freely. Though many recognizable places still stand, the landscape no longer represents innocence. Rather, it represents something separated and yet still resilient—a past that is intertwined with the daily realties of an environment being forced to transform.