About one year ago today, I quit my "day-job" to put faith into myself, my art and whatever else the universe had in store for me. I impulsively bought a plane ticket to Denver, Colorado and sent myself on a solo excursion, with no real plan.
My third day in Denver, I was walking from my AirBnB to the bus stop 1.5 miles up the hill so I could go wander downtown. The wind picked up and swirled in every direction and eventually led my attention to the right. I was then standing on the edge of a bridge and looked down to see this lone, abandoned, broken laundry basket sitting comfortably as the wind swept just about everything else up. I was oddly compelled to capture this moment, so I pulled out my Mamiya 645 and took this shot just before the rain poured down.
I didn't put much thought into this photograph until I recently rediscovered it and I caught myself returning to it, printing it large and staring at the delicate grain, trying to understand my connection to this broken, flimsy, used piece of plastic sitting in the grass. I guess I thought the title "Dirty Laundry" would be witty and fitting.. but then I started thinking about what dirty laundry really is.
Dirty: soiled, impure, unclean, distorted, dishonest, grimy, crude, wasted.
Vulnerable, tainted fabric that houses the residue of our energies.
Proof of hard work, late nights, hot days, time hopefully well spent.
These baskets are meant to be kept in private, in domestic spaces, to be reused, to hold these vulnerable items before their eventual renewal.
Can a laundry basket be a metaphor for the dark, unnecessary energies we house inside of us? The vulnerable, wasted emotions that we hold onto as we wait for an eventual "renewal"? What does it mean that someone allowed this tender object to be exposed to the public, alone on the side of the road? Am I going off the deep end with these questions? Maybe. I just can't help but feel the relevance of this photograph, especially in the trying times we are in. It seems as though everyone is slowly exposing their dirty laundry to the world, causing themselves to become even more vulnerable with a hope for an eventual renewal.. or I could be wrong. Maybe I think too much. Ok, that's true.
Anyways, I guess you could say I was looking for some type of renewal on this trip. A "start over" if you will. I had wasted so much of my energy on working a job that drained me because I was told by so many people that I needed to be practical and I had bills to pay so I worked a job to pay bills to go back to work so I could pay more bills, etc... I felt as if I was giving all of my juice to people who didn't really matter and eventually felt wrung dry. When I realized how little I had created that summer, I realized that I was starting to lose myself in this idea of what society wanted for me. I had no idea what I was getting myself into on this trip and that was the exciting part. I didn't have much money because I spent most of it on film but I decided to venture around and attempt to piece some things together that I seemed to have lost while "working". So I threw about 30 rolls of film in a bag with a few cameras and enough clothes for a few weeks and took off.
Now, one year later, I have been balancing a handful of miscellaneous freelance jobs and at this point, you'd think I'd be a bit more "at ease" but now I'm reminded that I need to shift my focus back to myself. Once again, I've fallen guilty of putting a bit more energy into others than myself, but this time it's at least people who are worth the extra juice. I'm so glad that I decided to make that leap one year ago into the unknown, yet beautiful mountains of Colorado but when I came back, I managed to get pulled under another "comfortable" sort of routine. I now realize that, especially at this stage of my life, comfortable is probably the last thing I need.
Reflecting on this past year, I think it's time to shake things back up and set out on another personal journey as I find home within myself and many rolls of film. My route is currently unclear and wide open but I know that I need to take that step.
Here's to being a damn dreamer.
Promo shots for Nozomi Takatsu