Going Home: The Series
I generally don’t share my guy, Josh’s, story with many people. I respect his privacy, and although I used to take the liberty of posting anything-to-everything about our relationship here in my blog, I no longer do that. I feel that he has a right to his privacy and if he wanted to share some of the deepest parts of himself, he’d probably have his own blog. So, last year, I went through many of my blog posts and made the ones pertaining to him private. I do still have a few up, but I basically made private the gut-wrenching posts that I should have used more discretion with. But live and learn, eh?
That said, I decided to revisit one of my photo series called Going Home; in which I told a story about a man (Josh) who had begun his journey to return home after a long time away. In this series, he sets out with a heavy heart, longing to return home. The word home evokes such strong feelings. It represents comfort, acceptance, peace, relaxation, and ultimately, love.
I created the Going Home series 6 or 7 years ago and submitted it to a photo contest. I won a camera for it (my 4th one) and gave that to my daughter, Brianna, who ended up becoming a talented photographer herself. (But she’ll never admit to that. She’s far too modest when it comes to her many talents. She’s also a piano prodigy, immensely gifted singer, a writer and self-taught multilinguist- the list is long. The kid is amazing!) But all of my kids are. 🙂
I love the Going Home series because it tells the metaphorical story of each and every one of us in this world; all traveling onward to an unknown (and sometimes very much known) destination. I know Josh doesn’t mind my sharing this part of his own story, which ties into the series perfectly.
I’ve never known anybody, apart from my oldest daughter, Heidi, who’s had such an incredible life story. I’ll share a bit of his story with you- for those of you who are new to it.
Josh’s mother was murdered by her boyfriend when he was only 7. For the next 7 years, he and his sister lived with their father. Unfortunately, his father died of a heart attack when Josh was only 14. He and his sister were sent to live with their grandmother, but she wasn’t capable of taking care of them for long, so Josh and his sister went off to live in one foster home after another. The two eventually split up and lived in separate homes, slowly drifting apart. After being shipped off from one place to the next, longing to fit in and really belong somewhere, Josh finally turned 18 and was no longer a ward of the state. He was given a small apartment and after so many years of living with somebody else, he was finally able to call his new place “home”. It was shortly after that that I was introduced to Josh from my brother. My brother had brought him over one day, and we clicked immediately. He stayed with us for the next few years: we adopted him straightaway! That was 10 years ago.
I can say with ease that I was an immature girl when we met, and although there was an 18 year age gap between us, we clicked on every level and became the very best of friends. I’ll always owe Josh a debt of gratitude for stepping into the very large shoes of “father figure” to my children. He was just a kid himself, but he was a sober, brilliant-minded “bruddy” to my son (a combination of brother and buddy) who took the time out of his life to be a great example to my children. It was understood that he wasn’t replacing their father, but his contributions to my little family are innumerable. I could never repay him for all that he’s given to me and my children. I like to think he feels the same way about us. 🙂
Josh is still my best friend. We have an unspoken understanding that we are not “boyfriend/girlfriend” and we don’t hold hands and stroll on the beach together with stars in our eyes. We have a much stronger bond than if we were married. We know that no matter what- we have each other’s backs, and we know that we can trust one another with each other’s very lives. I don’t think one could ask for more than that in a life partner. 🙂
Back to the series! I wanted to visually express Josh’s journey of longing for that ever-elusive place that he could finally call home. (The last pic at the bottom of the collection isn’t part of the series, but it fit in nicely, I thought. I was looking through the window into that same abandoned house, which actually tells what happened in real life, again, metaphorically. Also, I was still cutting my Photoshop and Lightroom teeth back then and might’ve gotten a little slap happy the editing here. My apologies!)
And so began his journey:
Last Dance [camera-winning photo]
Undone [He was still a baby here!]
Porthole [Me, looking through the window- 10 second self-timer]
B, I’m shaking my head in wonder here. This is powerful work. Have you ever exhibited this as a series?? The color ties this together and the model (Josh) is not acting. These really convey all you wrote about, the longing, yearning, displacement(my word) and the loniness . . . and that last picture . .. is that you peering into the window or his world? You both saved each other. It is a hell of a story and you became part of it. Really well done and brought me to tears. You are both strong loving awesome people. I am glad I know you B. Thank you for sharing. wow. xx
August 21, 2015 at 10:39 am
Oh, thanks so much for your never-ending encouragement and support, my friend! No, I did present this as a series to one place only- that’s when it won me a camera, but at the time I shot this series, I was still highly untrained in both photography AND editing (Photoshop, etc.) and I was super experimental in those days with colour. I had just learned that in every colour that exists, there are like 8-10 more “main colours” (or “base colours”) including cyan, magenta, etc., and so I was in the beginning stages of mixing my hues by individual channels, and then mixing them together as a group- after merging all of the channels together. I know that’s probably Greek to you, but it was to me too back then…heheh. So, what I’m really trying to say is that this is definitely what I consider cringe-worthy work! I was in my infancy. I hear what you’re saying though, and really, I think some of our best work is when we’re just starting out, because we take greater risks, and I know you understand that! We’re so hungry in our art and styles that we really just want to share it and touch people. As we grow as artists, we have to compromise some of that fresh, raw creativity to appeal to our wider audience, which of course means, we don’t always get to do exactly what we want if we want to snag a few buyers. We do (to some degree) have to tweak our personal tastes for others. I think as artists, we all struggle in that area- not knowing exactly which direction is the best to go in, you know? And so while I love the ideas behind this series, I would much rather reshoot it so that it reflects my current style. (I would use much less Photoshop!) But I do love the cyan/teal-based colour scheme here. (And yes, that’s me in the last shot. I actually shot that myself using a 10 second timer and a tripod. It’s amazing what you can do in 10 seconds, eh?)
Josh and I have been talking about reshooting this for some time now. Hopefully soon! Love ya, gal! x
August 21, 2015 at 10:57 am
Oh B ~ Be proud of this work. No cringing necessary. The approach is very cinematic and it appeals. Yes the area between our public work and our private work is tricky to navigate and we are all seeking to find our balance. Something verrry raw in this series and although to me seems technically very proficient, no doubt you will bring all you have learned and mastered into the new series. Of course you have BOTH grown and who knows what will emerge through that portal. It will be interesting to compare one day. :)))
August 21, 2015 at 12:04 pm
I totally agree with you on all points! It’s funny how we’ve grown together, he and I over the years. We lived together for months before we were ever intimate and I fell in love with him from the start, I really did. He’s so pure and genuine and so very sweet. But he didn’t love me in the same capacity for several years. Out of sheer necessity and for the sake of survival, he had built a steel fortress around his heart. I knew that if I continually watered the seeds of love I’d sewn in him that he would love me in return. it took years though to break down his walls. But nowadays, he calls me his sweet woman and we have a mature love, because we’ve grown together in the same field: our roots have become completely intertwined, and in that way- we’ve become one. I really had to fight for his love for a long time! But now he takes my breath away- entirely. I never would’ve dreamed he would give me such strong love in return- it’s really incredible. It’s so romantic to see his white hair all through his head and the crow’s feet around his eyes! (Especially knowing I played a big part in putting all of that there…heheh.)
I agree too with what you’re saying about the cinematic feel to this series- I totally get it. 🙂 I appreciate your valuable input on this too. I respect your feedback VERY much. Thanks for that. 😉
August 21, 2015 at 2:03 pm
Wait, I missed something somewhere. Are you back with your boyfriend? I thought I had read all your blogs but, maybe not.
August 21, 2015 at 8:31 pm
Yep. I snuck that one past you…heheh. We’re not living together, as we use to be, but we spend 2 to 3 days together out of the week and the rest of the time reside in our own homes. In our own weird way we’re “back together”, but neither of us speak up about it much. We just have a 3 or 4 day time span where we start missing each other if we’re away for longer than that and we end up gravitating toward one another again. So yeah, I guess you could say we’re “back together” again…heheh. (We’re so weird together.) It’s good to see you, by the way!
August 21, 2015 at 8:44 pm
wow. such a strong post.
thank you for sharing it.
August 22, 2015 at 12:04 am
Glad you enjoyed it, Gav.
August 22, 2015 at 1:31 am
Powerful. Beautifully presented sequence.
August 28, 2015 at 5:47 pm
Thanks so much. Glad you enjoyed it! Thanks for stopping by, as always. 😉
August 30, 2015 at 6:36 am
I love the photo series, for some reason it immensly reminds me of the “Wasteland” poems. I do hope you re-shoot this, although in my opinion, I would call it : continue the story.
Josh’s story is very touching, just as yours is, and it is heartwarming to read what grows out of it all, the way you describe Brianna as amazing and talented, and everytime I read her name or your son’s, I can feel all the love and strenght you pour into all of them daily.
September 1, 2015 at 2:48 pm
It’s a double-edged sword- parenting. All of the smiles, laughter and innocence- we only get so many years with them and then it’s all over. The babies are gone and you’re at mercy’s hands as to how much time you have with them. It all goes by too fast..
September 3, 2015 at 11:03 pm