This photograph is one of those pieces of art that means far more to the artist than it possibly could to anyone else. It holds such a huge part of the past four, nearly five, years of my life, beginning with my decision to head off to college end of summer 2012. Currently it is my desktop picture and upon opening my laptop this evening I decided to talk about why it was made.
The story of this image is the story of an overly sensitive twenty-two year girl/woman with an intense attachment to place. It is of a girl/woman who, with equal passion, has the desire to both run far far away and never leave home. These conflicting parts of my soul have lead to many tears and lots of confusion. How can they happen simultaneously? Yet these are the two parts of my being that desperately want to be fulfilled.
As a part of my series My Sycamore, this single point perspective road often gets overlooked amongst its’ more visually stimulating counterparts, but to me it is the most important image in the entire series, the photograph that connects my two selves.
I feel a strange possessiveness to this road – 134. I have driven it countless times (including this morning as I once again left Wyandot County) and so it is mine. I am fully aware that I am not alone in the journey down 134 to 330 to 23 to Columbus, yet I claim ownership. I have witnessed the most breathtaking sunrises, cried uncontrollably, prayed out loud, screamed my lungs out to Miranda Lambert, experienced near whiteout conditions, run over squirrels and drank gallons of coffee during that hour and a half drive. I am alone when I head to and from Columbus, in a car where I can’t run away from my thoughts; some of the best ideas I have ever had came out of this forced solitude during these many treks down 134.
I shot this photograph standing in front of my childhood home facing the path that leads to Columbus, Ohio. All of the overdone symbolism is there, freedom, future, adventure and life. Inevitably this road represents leaving where I came from to get to where I’m going; it also represents the closing of life’s first chapter – childhood, a season I have been quite reluctant to leave and am finally admitting having left. This view is what I see every time I turn out of my parents driveway and head off towards the city, it was/is the direction I am the most hesitant to face because in my eyes running home is much easier than leaping into the unfamiliar. This is an image of unknowns, of the worst days that I have yet to experience and the best days that I have yet to know.
This photograph is the end of My Sycamore, not a period, but a comma in a long sequence of photographs leading me on to whatever is next. I would be much more terrified of this thought if I were unaware of the fact that photographs can only show what the photographer wants you to see. While the viewer can’t turn around, I can. I get to see the view coming into Sycamore facing the other direction on 134, I get to go visit my mom, my dad, my dog and my rabbit. I get to run away and I get to run back and I get to end this post in the most cliche way possible, by saying that the road you leave on will always lead you home.