The Velvet Ditch
Awhile ago my twin sister asked me if I was aware of the Velvet Ditch. She told me, it’s a comfortable place that is hard to crawl out of.
This stemmed from a conversation she, and a lot of people around me, have been having lately about educational, emotional, and literal growth in this period of my life neither on my own nor completely with someone else. These photographs center on memories and projections that reoccur in this time of limbo. They point towards the comfortable southern culture that I have become accustomed to, and now the reluctant need to grow out of it. The photographs depict pressures of job offers, mixed with childhood memories of pecan gatherings, and quiet moments of living alone for the first time in my life.
While trying to come to terms with needing to crawl out of this ditch I cannot help but recall the dichotomy present in the Greek myth of Arcadia, a wilderness home where imperfection is a requirement for bliss. This work brings up a similar tension - how stress, worry, and discomfort are required for the existence of accomplishment. Themes of growth pervade the series, embodied as images of job security and friends who have been blessed with it, tomato plants I see myself in, and others who find themselves in my situation.
Also saturating these images is the color green. The color of landscapes and kudzu and the other lush foliage so common in my childhood, but also the color of jealousy. Jealousy of how everyone makes growing up seem effortless, and jealousy of all who have followed the rabbits through the hole in the brush and escaped the ditch quickly and quietly. But prosperity also finds itself inside my green. The prosperity of my community, uplifting and encouraging, help me lift my head up just high enough so I can see the road that lies on the other side of the ditch.
This work belongs to worry, to phone conversations about finances, being scared of noises in the shower, endless rewriting of cover letters and job applications, but also to a higher idea of achievement, the color green, and the Velvet Ditch that I’m lucky to have in the first place.
November - December 2017
120mm Porta 400, shot with Mamiya 7ii
on display at the Dodd Galleries in Athens, GA