There and back again
After three weeks of being stranded at a desolate town that I can only describe as an unworldly ignorant mashup between “Jersey Shore,” “Duck Dynasty,” and “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo,” I have finally returned to my beloved city of Chicago. I have mentioned in my posts while detained in Youngstown that I have a complicated and hostile history with my childhood hometown. Many reasons exists for such, but one in particular involves a clash of mentality regarding travel. I have painfully observed that a great many of the inhabitants there hold an attitude adverse against traveling outside of the northeastern Ohio area, especially if it is to experience things foreign to the area and to enrich oneself with such great experiences. I recall when I left for the Dutch island of Curacao for two years that customers at my parents’ restaurant were incredulous that I, or anyone for that matter, would voluntarily leave the area. When I returned to Youngstown after completing my studies on the island, many were gloating. A year thereafter when it became known that I was planning to move to Chicago, many haughtily predicted that I would run back to Youngstown within a few months. To them I say this: “I’m sorry, but a world exists out there. I reject stagnation, and I refuse to settle for a boring, dreary, mediocre life.”
Despite returning late Saturday night and not entering my flat until 1:00 AM, I was out the door the next morning with my gear to shoot a fencing tournament at Windy City Fencing. The shoot went fairly well.
On my way home afterwards, I decided to walk around the Loop for a bit to soak in the city again. It only dawned upon me then just how much I missed having my senses stimulated. Even only the sound of the Loop itself was enough to evoke a smile—the cars coasting down State Street, the footsteps thumbing in rhythm in all directions, the roar of an L train rolling by above. I would like to make an audio recording of the Loop and embed it into a slideshow of photographs I have made, if not for the fact that the esteemed Alex Webb had already done so. (See here.)
I spent several hours today back out in the Loop with my street shooter and 35mm lens. It just felt good to be back, to be where I felt safe, where I am not judged, where I can be myself without concern for being the target of condescending gossip. Feeding my hungry senses today as I wandered around with a camera rejuvenated my mind, spirit, and inspiration. I absolutely cannot wait to see what tomorrow holds!
All images © K. Dao Photography 2014, all rights reserved.