photography > Mind-Made Particulars (of home)

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Looking outward from within, I picture my garden.

Today it’s the upward whiteness of the lilies that shine the brightest. Other days my attention stops at the dusty screen. What if lines could be drawn between the particles of dirt and detritus to produce a shape, an emotion— the way we fashion constellations to understand and remember the night sky? What if these lowly objects—windows, words, clothes, hoop and swing—are not domestic objects at all, but cosmic ones? What if everything I need to know lives here, within my grasp? The melancholy energy of these places we call home, our personal cosmologies, may contain significant clues to who we are.

A grandiose notion of home, I realize, but that is where my mind went as I made these pictures. I agree with the writer Colette who said that the “ideal dwelling place always remains more or less imaginary.” In my pictures, some objects evoke memories that swirl like household dust just beyond my grasp. Others remain concrete—powerful, staid sentries that hold still for me to record and to reflect upon their natures and my own. What draws me to their worn, familiar shapes? How can seemingly immaterial objects offer such sustenance? What makes a house a home when its people fly away? The poem This House by Robert Creeley explores similar territory and inspired the title to my series.

Hold on, dear house.

‘gainst the long hours
of emptiness...

You are my mind
made particular,
my heart in its place.

I suspect my sense of home, and all its attendant mysteries and meanings, will continue to fluctuate—shifting and settling through the years. In the meantime I’ll continue to remain vigilant, ready to receive all visitors, clues, creaks and starry proclamations.