I was born in Valparaiso, Indiana in 1998, while my father was in a post-doctorate program. My parents rented a little white house on a street shaded with trees, adjacent to the university. The hospital where I was born was just around the corner.
Before I was a year old, we moved halfway across the country to Massachusetts, and I grew up in a small town North of Boston. New England is home to me: the freezing Atlantic beaches, the roads that wind over rocky hills and into salt marshes, the Colonial houses with their thick swollen panes of glass.
When my father was offered a job at the same university he worked at in 1998, we moved back to Valparaiso. For me, this meant both parting with the place I come from, and returning.
Vale is a body of work through which I am exploring my complicated relationship with the town of Valparaiso. I am both an insider and an outsider; I have much in common with people who live here, but at the same time am very aware of the cultural differences between where I was born and where I was raised; I have a history here, but I am unsure of my future. Grappling with these tensions, I have been documenting Valparaiso and my connection to it. I soon realized that along with trying to understand my relationship to this town, I was also trying to make sense of my difficult relationship with my family, and my own identity.
It is hard to make sense of this paradox, though, returning to a foreign place. The hospital I was born in does no longer exist; in its place is a soccer field. Where the house my parents lived in stood there is a vacant lot. Students walk through it as a shortcut. I am still trying to understand.