These past few weeks I’ve had to say a lot of goodbyes. People, places which had become invaluable cornerstones in my life. Most of these changes were unwelcome, unplanned. I suppose that is the way of life, but that is, at best, cold comfort.
During this time I visited Ocean Island Beach in southern NC. This beach, along with Myrtle Beach in SC, was the constant vacation spot of my family growing up. Over the years, the landscape has changed as development has run rampant. The gaudy, tourist glitz of Myrtle Beach was always part of the charm, but there was also a history that made the place familiar going back even beyond my parents’ generation. On this trip, I found myself inhabiting some of these old spaces that had held immense importance to me over the years. As the years have passed, many of these places have been torn down, turned into something different, but some still remain, virtually unchanged. It’s as an apt a metaphor for life as can be made, and I’m undoubtedly not the first to do so in these very places.
Though the winds from last year’s hurricane Matthew were relatively subdued, the sea swell and intense rainfall caused damage to several piers along the SC coast. I was drawn to one of these locations, and the result was the photo above. At times, I feel somewhat like a ghost, inhabiting places that are themselves a living memory. It’s easy to make out shades of the past, and to inhabit those thoughts with the memories of your own past and the imagined collective experiences that makes up a space like this. But the reality is that my own reality exists in a space separate, yet somehow inextricably connected, from the reality inhabited by those around us.
I tried to capture some essence of that feeling with this long exposure. Photography remains a unique tool for this sort of interpretation. Light, and the passage of time, captured in a single, static image. It’s an image of something real, but also unreal. Something that exists distinctly in the past, lingering as a reminder in the present. This feels, at times like this, the most human thing I can imagine.