In 2009 I began traveling around America re-visiting Stephen Shore's Uncommon Places. Shore was my photography professor at Bard College and the head of the Photography Department in which I was a student.
My father passed while I was at Bard and I started making a body of work titled I'll Be Seeing You Soon which I hoped would address the loss I was experiencing. It did not work the way I hoped it would. It only posed more questions. Uncommon Places set a benchmark for exploring spaces and attaching location to a feeling of searching and ambiguous personal importance. It is this personal importance that has offered me hope as to the continuation of I'll Be Seeing You Soon. The places I searched for, the people I sought out, and the chasing of my father's ghost from house to cemetery did not quell the flames of confusion that still run through me. By taking on someone else's journey will I hope(d) to douse these flames, or at least address the scars they have left behind.
Will the images I create hold up when taken out of the context of Uncommon Places or do they stop there? By hunting in an infinite fashion for something that has a finite end (1979 is the year of his last recorded image from this series) am I driving myself into a guaranteed dead end? Within these walls and the viewfinders I have chosen will I find answers to the questions that I am asking? Are those questions lost with my father passing, or by practicing the discipline he practiced making replicas of images that were originally created when he was a young man am I reliving a past that never existed.
As I started shooting this project, traveling from prescribed location to prescribed location, I tried to don Shore's cloak of cool objectivity not considering if he found what he was looking for in his making of Uncommon Places. Differing in working conditions, making experiential photographic decisions during my journey, emotionally, how has this project affected me? Do I have any peace around my father's death? Is there any larger understanding? The answer to the last two questions is an emphatic no. At this point in my shooting I still do not know what I am searching for. I no longer feel the need to. The determination to finish what I have started and hopefully offer this body of work as a tool to those who find themselves in similar situations is enough. The opportunity to speak to people that are searching for a dream long since passed is as I am is something I relish. Along the way I make photographs.