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the people I've been and the pieces I've kept. | by We the Living Photography
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the people I've been and the pieces I've kept.

My life is a series of changes. To grow I have to transform. I have to shed who I’ve been, to become who I will be. Heraclitus says, “There is nothing permanent in life, but change.” I wholeheartedly agree with him. In my life I’ve come to find that becoming a new person is the only way to make sense of and truly see the person I was before. When I look back on who I’ve been I see a collage of years, each collage imprinted with different pieces of a person I once was. Each piece is something I treasure because it’s part of my former self, a part I felt was so important that I kept it. This is what my series, “The People I’ve been and the Pieces I’ve kept.” is all about. It was about bringing into physical fruition the collages in my mind, the ghosts of my former selves and showing a transformation, showing growth.

Each image in my series not only contains different pieces, but different atmospheres to awaken a former self in my viewer. In my first image there is something of lightness, purity shown by the presence of white and very muted pastel colors, both in the background and in the pieces. It was then that I was a child, a young, naïve, blissfully unaware child. I remember that girl that I was in a soft haze of light, so very untouchable because she didn’t know what could hurt her yet. Still picking daises for their beauty, not plucking them for answers.

In my second image I’m bright and alive, the green grass of summers past never really fading in my mind. I’m a teenager, a punk rocker, getting tattoos too young and reading books that change my life, books that help shape who I’ll become next. My father dies and I keep his obituary laminated inside of Atlas Shrugged, my bible and my god kept together. I’m learning to hurt. I’m learning that with the brighter colors of life and existence comes greater risks and more pain. Still picking daises, but this time only to remember what used to be and for the satisfaction of plucking off the petals. For the satisfaction of making something as incomplete as I was.

In my third image I resonate pain and the absolute loss that comes with the realization of the true nature of people and the world around me. No more purity, or innocence just rude awakenings and darkness outside of my existence. This image was harder to create than the rest. It was easy to look back on my former selves and judge who I was and what was part of me. It’s infinitely harder to look inside of myself right now and find the same things. I’m an exhausted person. I’ve had surgery for my back, one of what they estimate to be about 3 or 4 in my life. I take more pills in a day than a pharmacist hands out. In the past five years, I’ve lost six immediate family members. I love photography, but I’m afraid my wanton need to be the best is going to burn me alive. I crave beauty with a feverous desire that matches little else in my life. I hate mirrors; I hate the honesty that the show because I feel lied too. I would kill to have faith in something, anything, just to be able to believe again. I don’t believe in anything. I don’t pick daises any more either; I just keep dried flowers like corpses as reminders of what used to be.

My life is a series of changes, a series of hits and misses, ghosts and corpses. I’ve lost a lot and gained what I’ve taken. This time next year I won’t be this girl anymore, I’ll be something new. I’ll be a new image, a new collage in the making. But no matter who I become next I will always remember the people I’ve been and all the pieces I’ve kept.


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Taken on February 22, 2010