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.)



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.





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


Fireplace Eyes.


Rotting Ionic.


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.


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 Replies to “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.

    1. 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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