Shortly after I met Mika, in the spring of 2013, I started making a series of photographs of what we called “objects of unusual weight.” I began noticing these objects everywhere I turned. Some of them were small, but seemed large. Others were heavy, but seemed light. The objects were in a state of flux: collapsing or coalescing, crumbling or merging, dispersing or fusing. Still, these forms were also oddly static and stable, in a way that felt very improbable. So I photographed them in a direct but indirect manner… à la Weston’s pepper, Caponigro’s apple, or the Becher’s water towers. I put the object in roughly the center of the frame on top of a relatively simple but complimentary background. I stared directly at these objects, but they were too specific, and so they resisted classification.
These “objects of unusual weight” have developed into an odd sort of love poem. Perhaps they do have something in common with that most simple icon for love, the heart: ♥. Read from top to bottom, this form starts out as two lobes and ends in a single point. Is it coming together or breaking apart? Contracting or releasing? At any one moment, it’s impossible to know.
Werner Heisenberg wrote about this phenomenon in his famous uncertainty principle of quantum mechanics. It’s quite simple and straightforward, actually: we can’t know both the position and direction of an object at the same instant. Heisenberg applied this idea to the atom, contributing to our concept of atomic orbitals (the probability of electrons being in one spot or another). Since atoms are so tiny and their parts move so quickly, they behave in very different ways compared to the scale and speeds we’re used to. Still, we need abstract models to think about atoms, and although our abstract atomic models are imperfect representations of the world, they’re very useful.
My “objects of unusual weight” are a bit like this; somehow they represent something that seems impossible and beyond my normal experiences. I made these photographs during an amazing moment, a fulcrum point in my life. So these “objects of unusual weight” have become an ideal starting point for this series of photographs, which is our family album, of sorts. This is our own narrative of the process of falling in love, being in love, and being a father. A similar story has happened to billions of humans, and many of them post their own versions of it on social media albums these days. But we all have our own unique details, and it’s these quirks are what make all the difference, that make our abstractions like ‘love’ just an imperfect representation of the wonderful specifics of our experiences.