Thursday, May 18, 2017

Photo Essay

                    My overall motivation for photographing the Portland International Airport is that I travel a lot from this airport. It is a very personal place to me and I felt like I connected tremendously with the people coming in and out of the airport. The purpose was to capture the raw emotion displayed as well as the process of leaving and coming to the airport. Waiting for a mother to come home, or clutching a college student that has just returned for the first time, people connect at the airport, and there is much that is very important to our lives that a lot of people don't notice as they are hustling to make their plane in time. 
                    This topic is focused on the emotional disconnect and reconnect people feel when they are at the airport. Some people are leaving, and cry as they say goodbye to their families, and some are returning, and cry as they see their families for the first time in a while. There is a range of emotions, excitement, sadness, apprehension, loss, loneliness, joy, etc. This is relevant to 2017 because this year a travel ban was put into place that made it very difficult to travel in this country. Airports have always had this underlining fear attached to them since 9/11, but now this fear is heightened. People may say goodbye to their loved ones and may not see them again. Traveling this year is a scary thing, which only intensifies the need for family and to know that loved ones are safe. With the protests and violence that is happening this year, no one is sure what will come next. Society could take this point of view as a way to fight the negative connotations that airports have developed, and focus on the parts that some enjoy, or people just want to hurry through the airport without acknowledging the communal ache that people are feeling as they travel. 
                    My personal feelings about this topic is that airports are not just about how quickly you can get from one place to another, people say goodbye to family here, they separate and that is a difficult thing to do. I have traveled a lot on my own this past year, whether for lacrosse tournaments or college visits, and I've had to say goodbye to my parents here and get on a plane. I've had to say goodbye to my brother multiple times, and then go months without seeing him. The notion that as you are boarding a plane, your family is mourning your absence, doesn't get to you until you arrive home and see them waiting for you. I appreciate flying a lot more than I did, I get fearful that something will happen and I will not see certain family members again. I worry, but then I am so joyful when I touch down, and get back in the car with the people that I love. 
                    The journey of the photos is from arriving the airport to leaving the airport. I want people to see these pictures and think of themselves in that place, whether it's on a plane or waiting in the TSA line. I want people to notice peoples faces through the journey, and see the indifference that is displayed until the last four photos. In the first ones, people are leaving, but in those last four, people are returning to family, and the emotion on their faces is visible to everyone. I want the viewer to think about the next time they board a plane, that they can look forward to the return, and how happy they will be to hug the family that is waiting for them. 

Paper Prints