I hate finding litter when I’m hiking.
One of the key tenets of the outdoors is “take nothing but memories, leave nothing but footprints”. Even so, I always end up packing out other people's trash.
I started to notice that Mylar balloons kept appearing on my hikes, deteriorated and desiccated, tangled in bushes in the wilderness.
I was intrigued.
They were faded. Altered. Full of holes. (Like memories often are). Each an artifact of some stranger’s celebration that must have floated for miles and come to rest in the woods.
I began to extract these physical memories from the forest and photograph them in my studio.
The photographs of these balloons became a literal, if anonymous and decontextualized, memory of some person’s special occasion. Whether they had a great time or left with a tear, I'll never know. All I have are these forgotten, deteriorated balloons printed with messages like “Happy Birthday!”, “Happy Mother’s Day!”, and “You’re #1!”.
I pulled these balloons back into the world after they were abandoned, bringing buried memories back to the fore.
Even when we think we let go, memories have a way of hanging around.