There’s no way to prepare yourself to meet folks where they’re at in their lives and find connections between them all. 

From the Cleveland transplant, whose father was a hobbyist photographer and military man, came to Toledo to find his own path as a graphic designer. I’d originally met him in the drive through of a Krispy Kreme and made a photograph of him then. During our session I’d expressed how much I loved his eyes and I imagine that was surprising to hear. I can’t help my expression while behind the lens. I do love the people I meet. Every single one. At 19 there’s still so much to learn in life as you journey into each day. I hope he lands where he needs to be. 

On the outskirts of Detroit, a retiree left me in awe as he went on about his connection to the arts. His family performed in plays, danced and sang their hearts out, but also were victims of AIDS in his youth. He used to live in Los Angeles in the 80’s and after a small stint behind bars, found himself back in Michigan developing his eye. He’s a low-key beast with the camera. 

The parents who are expecting a fifth addition to their household amidst a new career choice, have the type of energy I adore. I hope my photos find their way into their children’s hands in 20 years. The father is from a small town in Mississippi, not far from my own parents neck of the woods. Talking to them both was cathartic. Marriage is out of the question for me, but it’s dope to see a functioning household when it’s present. 

One home was the most revealing of the few places I’d travel to. Ravaged by addiction and nearly left behind out of fear, this space found rebirth through courage and a desire to not give up. Repurposed materials draped the home where scars once laid. I love you for rising above the challenges introduced into your life. Hearing how you transformed your home into your sanctuary made me rethink my own space and the benefit of that kind of joy. 

The last home on my commute lives on the East side of Toledo. This might not make sense to anyone outside of Toledo, but East sider’s are their own people and I’m here for it. This person has been a longterm friend for some years and every time we meet I learn a little more about them. How connected they are to every piece of their home and their plans to grow the community they’re in made me smile because I believe it will happen. People like her make things like this happen. 

And last but not least, the iPad portraits! Holy shit I learned so much from this, hahaha. Like a slow shutter is not ideal and I should provide more light than I thought necessary. The local video calls and the coastal calls were so cool. Boston, Los Angeles, Atlanta, came through. I want to do this again. 

I originally planned not to write about this as I’m learning to let my photos tell a story, but I can’t help this side of me. I still have a long way to go as a photographer and that’s okay. I’ll get there. The fact that  camera remains in my hand is all I need to know that this is meant to be. 

This collection of photographs were made over 7 days in December 2021. 

Using Format