Walk Away Slowly

I photograph places and things from which people walked away. Though ordinary, I find them beautiful. I try to understand why they were rejected; why they were left behind.

I grew up in a small Michigan city, surrounded by Lake Michigan’s shore and wide-open farm country. Often left to myself, I explored the woods adjacent to our home. Toting a bag of books, I retreated into forts built with scavenged lumber and fictitious worlds where ugly ducklings were superheroes. With a drivers’ license, my horizons expanded and I searched the countryside for ordinary things whose appeal eclipsed the manicured perfection of the city. Country roads. Open fields. Forgotten places.

I made the pictures in my series, Walk Away Slowly, in places that resemble the back roads I explored as a child. While there are no people in the images, in each scene I felt a human presence or, perhaps, a human absence. Despite practical purpose and haunting beauty, someone had walked away. In a lean-to vacated a decade ago, a workbench drawer remains open. Four pines are isolated in a many-acre field. Reaching back to the fiction I read as I teen, in making these images I wove tales that explained why these things were left behind.

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