Last in The Woods
The Portuguese term saudade describes a melancholic longing. I have had a lifetime interest in the melancholic. All the books, movies, visual art and music I find myself drawn to are threaded together through a love of longing. Last in the Woods begins in saudade, a word I am so thankful to have as no others describe the beauty I find in the melancholic.
I found longing in 2012 as it confronted me while trail running the woods of my childhood. I had been visiting my grandparents for the summer in my home state of Missouri and found myself fascinated with the passing landscape. I had not realized that much of the atmosphere provided by the canopies of trees and the dense humid air shaped how I perceived the events of my early life. I never realized until that summer the extent to which this particular landscape has always haunted me. Maybe the act of leaving home enabled me to discover its profound mark on my psyche.
This landscape alternates between the protagonist and antagonist in my story. It is my Dr. Jeykl and Mr. Hyde. Childhood experiences in nature mark a time of innocence and yet, especially for me, the woods set the stage of the bittersweet as I sought refuge and was also forced into exile while trying to escape a difficult home life.
Through my lens there is a love of longing and more importantly a longing for escapism. When I enter back into the woods to create these images, I am escaping my present reality for reconstructing, very elusively, memories I have put on such a pedestal in my mind that they are nothing more than fictions. This work is meant to be seen as a psychodrama where the convergence of memory and reality begin to weave narratives of an unknown inner life.