Those Times I Left to Find Myself

We’ve all had moments where we’ve channeled Thelma & Louise.

Hit the road.

Left it all behind. (Except that Brad Pitt hitchhiker.)

Explored.

***

For years, I’d get into my car and drive for hours, taking along the only companion I’d wanted: a reliable, standard point-and-shoot camera.

We’d stop and go, stop and go. All the while poking my head and its lens into forgotten places in the hopes that I’d find a bit of myself reflected in what I’d captured with the press of a button.

And I did.

At first, I thought that the shots were just of buildings.

But years after they languished in an external hard drive, I saw them for what they truly were: self portraits.

Broken, Beautiful.

I wasn’t so much looking for old buildings, but part of myself. Something that may have been hanging on by a thread, or left to molder in darkness.

Bits and pieces from my past lives, all united by a common theme: decay, with a touch of sophistication, and plenty of room for improvement.

The conditioned traits I’d embodied but never really embraced.

Religion.

Absolution.

Balance.

Sideways.

The parts of myself that I tried to express and frame, but found extinguished and skewed at one time or another.

Warmth.

Fireplace Eyes.

Perspective.

Rotting Ionic.

Vitality.

Green Light.

***

Something about these broken, beautiful places drew me in, filled a void I’d let grow inside me. Perhaps, like puzzle pieces, random fragments of others’ experiences completed me.

Whether it was a gutted living room, or a little floral bouquet–last respects paid, left on a soon-to-be demolished window sill–I felt less like a disembodied part and more of a whole.

Shattered.

Last Respects.

It’s always odd to pinpoint what exactly inspires us to push forward and grow.

Sometimes it’s adrenaline pumping through our veins, or a slight, reassuring squeeze on the shoulder.

Sometimes, though, it’s just us.

4 thoughts on “Those Times I Left to Find Myself

  1. Matthew,you are a great photographer! You have all these wonderful talents that beg to be made into a career. I’m obviously reading your posts backwards, so at the risk of being redundant I’ll say it again- you are a gifted writer and with your eye for capturing the essence of a shot, well you tell quite a narrative. Few people have the knack of being able to do both well. Think of it as a sign….
    P.S. There’s a great sight about all the beautiful bldgs. in Detroit that are falling into ruin- I believe it’s called ” Lost Detroit”. If you haven’t seen it you should check it out- it would speak to you.

    • Awww, thanks! My hobbies have definitely saved me a time or two, and I love having them in reserve to channel creative energies. We’ll see what the future brings; I’d love to tweak them in such a way as to make a career out of it! Time and effort will tell 🙂

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