Places in Which We Dwell
Originally, this project began as a way to express my adoration of abandoned places, modern ruins. I could never pin down the reason why I loved exploring them so much, why it was a meaningful experience, however, going through this photo essay I discovered that it had to do with the themes of time and melancholia. To me, the exploration of these forgotten or otherwise neglected places is like seeing the process of time render something lifeless, with a small sense of hope in the possibility of what it could have been. At the abandoned property pictured with the piano out front, I felt a glimmer of life still residing there. There had once (presumably) been a player or multiple players of that piano, a distinct human fingerprint left on that bleak landscape, a small reminder of the most universally revered art form, music. In the abandoned paper mill, it was interesting to see the leftovers of lives that had once been there, and the marks left by visitors, namely art in the form of graffiti. What this project came down to for me was an acceptance of our mortality, that time is irreversible and has an effect on all aspects of modern life. This is why I also photographed the Winona Cemetery. It was sort of a cyclical decision, to follow these modern ruins from a former household where people had lived in the past, to a different more permanent kind of dwelling. This however was not meant to be a pessimistic or nihilistic message. The most inspiring thing about this was seeing how much beauty people leave, everywhere they go. In the echoes of these places are human footprints, of art, of music, of deep and unconditional love that not even death makes forget. This progression really made me appreciate the places that humankind have left their mark, their energy, even if these places are now empty and not in the condition they could have been in. Where people dwell, beauty thrives, and even that can sometimes exist long past death.