For more than two hundred years my family has lived in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont. When my father turned eighteen he joined the Navy and left, glad to escape conservative small town life, vowing not to return. Growing up in a military family, we moved frequently and I never established a connection to a place, I was from nowhere and everywhere.
Yet, the Northeast Kingdom, those counties in the far northeast of Vermont, held a mythic sense of history—it was the place where my roots ran deep. Over the years, I built a total image of the land in my mind, it was the kind of place where kids rode their bikes to the general store and everyone knew each other, like something out of one of the Hardy Boy books I cherished.
Finally, a few years ago, I moved close enough to visit. For the first time, I felt a real connection with a place; this was the land of my heritage. I began making frequent trips, not just to visit new found family members, but photographing with my 8x10 camera, working to learn more about this new world, and in time, more about myself. It turned out that Vermont was a beautiful place, but it was not as perfect as a young adult novel. These photographs earnestly explore the balancing act between the world I imagined for so many years, and the place I finally experienced. While the Northeast Kingdom is a magically seductive place, we are wise to question its sheen.