My repatriation to the USA has left me detached. What I mean is that I lack a connection, a sense of place, with Orlando, its people, and its culture. Disengaged from my current reality, I take refuge in the nostalgia of my former life in Europe. These recent cool days of autumn remind me of my first months in Europe, getting lost along cobblestone streets and warming up to the European lifestyle. They remind me of walking along the grands boulevards of Paris, of drinking mulled wine in Scandinavian Christmas markets, rifling through timeworn manuscripts in dusty archives, and seeking late-night cañas with friends throughout the neighborhoods of Sevilla. They remind me of my determination to, upon first stepping foot in Madrid, wander around the city alone, and the subsequent tears of joy I should have not struggled to keep back. These cool autumn days remind me of what I had been missing, and they remind me of the moments that I discovered it. Nostalgia of this variety is masochistic; it is a self-destructive comfort. Though it is a contributing factor in impeding me from developing a connection with Orlando, I refuse to surrender it.
Since I’ve made the deliberate – if untimely and temporary – choice to live here, I decided that being proactive in forming connections with a place is more honest than simply decrying a lack thereof. So, I went for a walk downtown yesterday, around Lake Eola Park, with my dog and my camera. I wanted to capture Orlando. I wanted to begin developing a sense of place. The photos, however, are revealing; they are fragmented, detached, and incomplete.
Apart from some minor color adjustments, I created these photos with nothing but my camera (read: no photoshop trickery).