"LOOKING FOR ELSEWHERE" Gallery Show
"Looking for Elsewhere" is a distillation of photographs from two distinct subjects. The first subject consists of self-portraits and images from family life taken in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. The second chronicles time spent developing close and trusting bonds with members of the Dirty Ones, a gang of young men mostly of Puerto Rican heritage. The photographs were made during the same time. These two seemingly disparate collections of images both feature immigrant families making their respective ways through the world and the wilds of Brooklyn.
Despite their differences, the two collections emerge in eerie and intimate conversation with each other. Each single photograph it’s own tiny universe, but all gathering from the same source.
My grandparents were first-generation immigrants from Sweden and Norway, and struggles with addiction and depression were omnipresent in our home and then in me. The portraits of my family are warm and affectionate, but always haunted by the dual realities of hope and struggle, joy and sorrow. Similarly, the images of the Dirty Ones bear testament to bonds of trust and loyalty built over time, but in them, also, there runs an inescapable awareness of the brutal realities of gangland violence and incarceration these young men faced and would continue to face for many years. The young woman in my own self-portraits dots the landscape of the collection; an expressive, yearning and complicated presence. With a whole life still ahead of her, she is a recurring sonar echo calling out to a future self and asking to be seen, understood, and perhaps, spirited out of Brooklyn.
The individuals featured in the portraits—myself, brother, parents, and grandparents on one hand, and the twins Edgar and Edwin and other members of the Dirty Ones on the other—lived parallel lives within shouting distance of each other at the far edge of a great American metropolis during a tumultuous decade in US history. Separated by a few years and a few city blocks, the two worlds are distinct from each other, but the same threads of grief, suffering, joy, bittersweet humor, longing, and ultimately, survival infuse both.