“This is it, Joel. It’s going to be gone soon.” “I know.” “What do we do?” “Enjoy it.”
This summer, for part of my senior project photo exhibit, I did some front yard photo shoots. I asked some of the funnest people if I could use them as models. The whole shoot took 5-10 minutes (the other 30 was spent chatting).
After showing the initial photos to my professor we got to talking about what the photos represent and how I could go even further with them. How life is so sudden. How we can be intimate and together in one moment and apart the next. And most importantly, what makes the house a home.
After talking with him, I went back to a few of those houses and took a different photo. One of just the house. No babies or couples or families in front of it. Just brick and gravel and empty front yards. A photo of a house, rather, than what was a photo of a home a click before.
It was almost haunting to see the photos when I first looked at them side by side. Where once you could put faces to the love and fun and smiles that made up that home, now was empty. My teacher and I discussed what the emptiness meant— was it because they had to go to work? Were they having a movie day? Did we just miss them as they headed back inside? Or was it something even more final than that?
I read a quote this year that has truly stuck with me. It said, “Death is a master teacher.” This year, many have experienced so much heartache and loss. Friends, family, and loved ones who were once here are now suddenly gone— in a far better place than we are.
Before I saw all the photos together, they were more of just a concept or idea to me. It wasn’t until more recently did I begin to grasp how much this project meant to me. You see, to me, the photos represent how fleeting time truly is. And if this year has taught us anything, I think it’s that. How things can change in an instant.
And that can be scary when you think about it. But, it can also be freeing. We’re only here for as long as we’re here. Life is going to end up how it ends up no matter how much we worry about it. The only thing you can do is take it all in while you can. Ride out the hardships. Learn from the mistakes. Enjoy the twists and turns. Never let your last word in a conversation be out of anger. And tell the people you love that you love them while they can still hear you.
I’d like to share with you all: My Front Porch Looking in.