I was born in Valparaiso, Indiana in 1998, while my father was in a post-doctorate program at the town's university. My parents rented a little white house on a shady street adjacent to the university. The hospital where I was born was just around the corner.
Before I was a year old, we moved halfway across the country to Massachusetts, and I grew up in a small town North of Boston. New England is home to me: the freezing beaches, the rocky woods that make mazes of the roads, the warped and swollen windows of old houses.
When my father was offered a job at the same university, my family moved again to Valparaiso. For me, this meant both parting with the place I come from, and returning.
Vale is a body of work through which I am exploring my complicated relationship with this town. I am both an insider and an outsider; I have much in common with people who live here, but at the same time am very aware of the cultural differences between where I was born and where I was raised; I have a history here, but I am unsure of my future. Grappling with these tensions, I have been documenting Valparaiso and my connection to it. I soon realized that through the process of examining my relationship to this place, I have been trying to make sense of my difficult relationship with my family, and my own identity.
It is hard to make sense of this paradox, though, returning to a foreign place. The hospital I was born in no longer exists; in its place is a soccer field. Where the house my parents lived in stood there is a vacant lot. Students walk through it as a shortcut. I am still trying to understand.