I have grown around this house for 22 years. I say grow around because nothing in my house seems to ever move. Once something is placed, it lives there forever. If it does move at all, it returns over time to its spot.
My great grandfather originally lived in the house next door and my grandfather and grandmother moved into this one to take care of him. This was the house I was born in. I’ve been here all my life except for a brief period in 2nd grade when my mom got married and I lived for a while with her. Even that wasn’t much of an uprooting since she only moved a few blocks away. But like all things associated with my house, I knew where my spot was. So I moved back to live with my grandparents.
Over time and with this series, I started to pay attention to how the house was fading and that there’d been little effort to fix it up. Even though my mother, my aunt and my uncle all live nearby, their ties to this house are loosening. And mine are too.
I would like to think that the house and I are still growing together but really, we are heading rapidly in different directions. I’m at the beginning of my life and the house is old and worn down and at the end of its own. Although we still share something: we’re both unsure about the future.
At some point, property values may determine whether it’s better to attempt restoring the house—though that’s unlikely to happen—or, as my uncle who now lives next door in my great grandfather’s house keeps saying, just knock it down. Given all the uncertainty, I decided it was time to photograph my home and not avoid doing that any longer.
It was also time to pay homage to my grandparents for raising me and providing me with a home. In addition, Some Other Way is a reason and a means for me and the people in my family to remember the house even while it keeps fading.
Some photographs highlight specific objects and their placement inside the house. In others, I’ve included myself in the frame. The house and what it means to me, along with some of the objects have even found their way onto my skin. I have felt the house and my grandparents as being the real stabilizers in my life so the photograph of the tattoo of the anchor on my foot deals with that. Another example is the image of my arm in a wreath. That wreath has lived on that wall forever and it inspired the floral tattoo on my arm; the photograph combines both.
Not all the images are taken inside. In my inside images both my surroundings and I are static. When I photographed outside the house, I’m a blur. Once outside there’s the need, desire and the ability of my body to move and readiness to move forward. Inside is certainly the past and present. Outside is a present that gives clues to the future. I know where I come from; I understand my attachments. But I am unable to foresee what will happen.
The future makes me wary and a little uneasy. How will I inhabit spaces other than this one and with whom? Will other places teach me like this one has? I’m not sure, but this project has allowed me to start moving on. With Some Other Way I’ve repaid my debt to this house by helping it live on and not only for me but for everyone impacted by a place we call home.