Sunday, October 26, 2008

Why Knock It?






Okay, seems like I keep getting the same reactions about my New jersey project from the people who I love from Jersey. 

Why do I knock it? 

I'm told that that's where I am from. Yes, I certainly know that. I did live there for 19 years of my life after all. Formative years, teen years, I remember them all.  

So, why knock it? 

Well, I don't care much for the place. Not  to reside anyway. 

But, I am paying tribute in my photos for the reason that I do have a certain place in my heart for the big N.J. 

It's just not a place for me to live, not enough culture at your doorstep, not enough diversity in the community, not enough for me to feel at home like I do in a city where I live ten minutes away from the place I grew up. Yet, instead of sticking out like a sore thumb, I blend in and feel at home.
 
So, with that I give you my statement and hope that it gives clarity to those who don't understand why I "knock it."  Which I'm really not doing, it's my subject matter after all. I don't take these photos in Philadelphia, they are in New Jersey. 

I build my case for myself and anyone else who feels the same way I do. And I know you are out there. I can't expect anyone to understand. My experience is my own. So, to perhaps shed some light...

NJ and Me....

New Jersey  and you perfect together- so the slogan goes. This may be true for some perhaps, but our relationship could be defined as anything but perfect.

While I realize there are many Garden States experiences from the rural lands of South Jersey to the cities of Newark and Trenton, My experience of growing up in one of New jersey's many suburbs brought on a mountain of teen angst, boredom and isolation. I felt stifled and hamstrung by an inability to express myself in a culturally supportive environment.
At the age of 19, I moved to Philadelphia and haven't looked back in the fifteen years that has passed. When I go "home" to visit, traveling from one family member's house to another, I find humor and beauty in the suburban culture. I now find the scape endearing and I recognize the places that have influenced me to become the person I am today.

This is a homage to the place I grew up, the place I abandoned, the place I can now love from a distance.

God bless you, New Jersey.

2 comments:

xio. b said...

as someone who was born and raised in Newark, I can't sit here and say that I relate to everything you are saying, but I do understand. Newark=urban, or rather...inner-city.

but i hear you...philadelphia is different, it is a different place from a lot of places.

this homage is beautiful.

mlare said...

i don't think you knock it at all! i think you point out its rediculous eccentricities. N.J. is, after all, a weird place full of eccentricities. It isn't your fault it's so weird! Additionally i like reading your writing about it. it's clear and to the point and well written.