Change is inevitable. It is the only consistent thing in the universe. From our own bodies and minds growing and developing as we age to the landscape we inhabit; it is impossible to escape. In Tuscaloosa, Alabama, change is an even more constant friend. As a college town, Tuscaloosa has a constant stream of people trickling through, every four years a large part of the populace is replaced by new students. Tuscaloosa and the University are also under endless construction; tearing down the old to replace it with newer and, more importantly, bigger structures.
"One Thousand. One." represents a culmination of change. It is a collection of images documenting a group of individuals nearing a change in their personal lives, graduation and the final step to adulthood, while also living through the ever-imposing change of their physical environment, residential construction.
"One Thousand. One." consists of two distinct parts, images observing the personal and every day and images documenting the physical and external. Each part produces very distinct images. For the personal, I photographed my roommates and myself as we lived through our senior year. These images were captured entirely on my phone’s camera. This was done in an attempt to be as discrete as possible to capture candid moments and our lives as unfiltered as possible. These images have been edited to be oversaturated to show the vibrance of life.
The second part, the physical, captures the residential construction that dominates a two-block radius around our house. These images are black and white and focus on the geometric rigidity of construction. These new builds hold no life. They are the skeleton of the lives they will hold in the future. And they are the skeleton of the memories of the buildings they are replacing.
"One Thousand. One." is about change, but it is also about memory. Memories are fickle and over time they fade and become unreliable. To combat our ever-fading memories, we often attach them to physical things like a souvenir or a scent or location. Something that we can pull out and touch or a place we can revisit. These physical reminders take us back to the memory and allow us to remember more clearly.
Photographs are a particularly strong form of memory recall, as they can capture a moment more fully than just a physical object. The photograph becomes the memory. A frozen moment of time and a piece of reality begging to be viewed and remembered.
"One Thousand. One." was, in part, inspired by my need to combat the threat to my memory. I am a nostalgic person and one that uselessly fights against the current of change. Endings, such as senior year, have always been hard because of the uncertainty that follows. One thing I thought I could count on was the fact that my house would remain, and I would have a physical place to return to and remember.
I have driven by this house almost every day for four years. The house itself was built in the 40s or 50s and has survived the constant change throughout Tuscaloosa. This is its last year standing, it will be torn down and replaced with a larger townhouse. My memories and countless people’s memories will no longer have a physical place to attach to.
Change is necessary but it comes at a cost. "One Thousand. One." is meant to serve as a reminder of that cost by capturing memories and life while also showing what the future holds.