The whole “self-contained” thing is a work in progress. I truly believed when I returned home from Los Angeles last October, I was better equipped mentally for my return to Toledo. It’s been a grind though. Taking pics, promoting events, dabbling politically, hanging with friends – anything to be busy and productive. I came home because my dad is sick (on top of my father being sick, my brother-in-law was diagnosed with leukemia on Christmas). It was the only choice I felt I could make, and I left a lot back in Los Angeles to make it. Something Andi wrote back then touched me and helped to reaffirm the decision I made:
But Toledo hasn’t been kind. It seems folks built up their own little fiefdoms while I was gone. My return has been met by outright attack from a few folks, and the attacks have continued to this day. In an incredibly insular community like model photography, this has been disruptive. I won’t lie. It hurts. I’m just trying to book shoots, do my thing and create something that will last. My trust in people right now is probably at the lowest point it’s ever been. My friendship with Andi has been the one constant. My restraint over the past five months has surprised even me when it comes to my lack of a response to the garbage being thrown at me. I try to remind myself that I’ve been an active photographer since 2002 and created a scene folks have enjoyed for the most part since 2005. I’ve done my best to help some people along the way. I’ve had ugly moments too, misunderstandings and total breakdowns in communications with others. I drop the ball on occasion. Still, I always strive to never be deliberately hurtful to others. I think this is what infuriates me the most. It seems that with much of the younger set, cultivating a “total asshole” persona is some kind of badge of honor. I’m not going to try to fight such a mindset. It’s a zero sum game. I’ll continue to do what I do, avoid the explosive encounters and circumnavigate folks who derive their entertainment at the expense of others. There’s some growth I can believe in.