Far From Home: How Photos Bring Comfort
I haven’t lived in Pittsburgh for long. Time is strange that way; in some aspects, I feel like I’ve lived here for years. But every now and then, there’s a sharp pang of longing for the home I once knew and the people who inhabit it. As much as the day to day happenings of my new life fill me with joy and purpose, it’s normal, I think, for change to catch you off guard sometimes.
It’s in these moments that I rely on my photos.
I respond strongly to visual stimulus. Pictures & videos strike chords in me, and it’s easy to lose myself in sifting through them. My friend always calls it “the rabbit hole”; he pokes fun as I show him a photo from a specific memory, then start scrolling...and scrolling...and scrolling. In truth, it is something that can spiral out of control. Yet, I’ve never seen it as a negative. I think, if anything, it highlights the importance of digital memory keeping. Photos capture more than an image; the right photo encapsulates a specific feeling. It’s a trigger for warmth & comfort.
I’m an only child, which get mixed reviews. On the one hand, I grew up incredibly close to my parents. On the other, that sibling connection I always craved was lacking. As I’ve grown, though, I’ve begun to see it as a gift. I’ve been fortunate enough to harness that familial desire and forge my own connections from it. My cousins have become my siblings. My friends have become my family. My whole life, I was laying bricks as a foundation for the people who would become my pillars.
So when I made the choice to move, it was no small thing. Everyone in my life knows how much connection means to me, and leaving it behind to move 300 miles away (especially with my love for my city… Go Eagles!) was a choice maybe 30% saw coming.
Photography has always been a huge part of my life. Being an only child, there is no shortage of photos of me growing up. Every stage, every bad haircut, pre and post braces: it’s all documented. But along with those solo shots, every family vacation, every birthday, every holiday is saved in the archives, too. That’s a tradition I’ve maintained in all aspects of my life - capture, capture, capture.
I went to Ocean City, NJ for my annual family vacation this past August - “Beach Week” we call it. Seeing my people reinvigorated me in a way I didn’t even realize I needed. And, surrounded by people who hold memory keeping to the same standard as I do, we captured, captured, captured. So what did I do as soon as I got home? Uploaded to my FOREVER account & ordered some photo prints.
When you walk into my bedroom, you’re greeted by dozens of faces. Each face tells a story, each story a moment I wasn’t willing to forget. They drape across my wall, strung together with twine, and remind me of home.
Well, I have two homes now; I have new photos to take.