She’s Not Here

In December 2016, my mom got ankle surgery. We made a project of her recovery.

I had big plans for the pictures, but that wasn’t what they wanted to be. They were just a record of us, of how we were together.

My mom died suddenly in December, 2020. Initially, the coroner ruled it “inconclusive.” She was just done.

The next month I went to her house with the same camera and same lenses, crouched in the same places, and meticulously recreated all of the photographs.

But without her in them.

Time Frame

2016–2021

Camera

Canon 5D Mk IV

Lenses

Sigma 24–35 f/2, Sigma 35mm f/1.4, Sigma 50mm f/1.4, Canon 135mm f/2

Location

Cranston, RI

Software

Illustrator, Lightroom, Photoshop

Skills
  • Attention to Detail
  • Candid Photography
  • Color Grading
  • Culling
  • Direction
  • Grieving
  • Retouching

A few months later, we sold her house

I’d already packed, sold, recycled, re-homed, trashed,
burned, and donated everything she owned.

All that was left was a building she’d lived in.

And still, somehow, it overflowed.

We hammer wood for a house,
but it is the inner space
that makes it livable.

We work with being,
but non-being is what we use.

—Lao Tzu