Where to even begin… it all feels so unreal, like a dream, a sweet dream… that sitting now in my favorite coffee shop in Baltimore, looking back, I giggle to myself at the complex web of people, experiences, sights, and sounds that now weave the fabric of my life remembered.
What a funny thing, memory. What we chose to cling to, the small bits of our past that we adhere to our present state of mind while it shapes our future. I think about this often… I wish to liken my memory to that of a dog's. They say a dog only remembers the last 7 minutes, so it doesn't matter how long you are away from the house, it still feels like the same amount of time to them. But how would that explain when the dog gets excited about hearing your car coming down the road as opposed to your neighbors?
All beings actively select what they choose to remember and what feelings are associated with those bits of information. No matter how many new experiences I cram into my memory, I'm still like a paper doll with an array of personas; built from experiences, that are ready to be loosely attached to my figure before that next gust of wind picks me up and sweeps me away somewhere else.
This is Me before Rwanda Hard at work organizing photography workshops for kids out of a small studio in Annapolis.:
Assisting on Men's Underwear shoots for Under Armour.
Actually, that's Steve, the Producer.
Drawing diagrams for how to hang skateboards over the door in my tiny apartment...
Shallacking giant darts, hand-made by John Shea,
for a sculpture show.
Cue chance meeting with Jennie Dundas. This sparked the idea for going to Rwanda to begin with (scroll down to Sweet Dreams blog post for back story.) I just finished sending an email to all of the donors for this project 'o mine, and I think I summed it up best there, so I will quote myself.
What I thought would just be a 10 day stab at a photo project, has now turned into a life-long relationship with a country and it's peoples, by which I was continuously humbled and grateful for. Life has taught me one sure thing up to this point. 90% of your plans go out the window when you arrive somewhere- or maybe that's just my ridiculous life! Either way, that was partially true for this project. I went with a vision from my experience in Chad and arrived to a country that was nothing like Chad. Except for the same crazy citrus flavors of Fanta, the landscape was more colorful, the air much lighter than that of a country still in conflict, and the patrons of the ice cream shop were actually pretty smart, hip, University students! So, out the window with one vision, and dive into the next."
The landscape that greeted me in Butare, Rwanda….
This photo was literally taken a few hours after a conversation that I had with a patron at Inzozi Nziza. I remarked that Butare reminded me of Colorado's afternoon thunderstorms in summer, yielding a ton of rainbows. Did Butare see many rainbows? "None," was his reply. Go figure.....