Life in Pictures
I was looking through pictures and realizing just where I’ve come from and where I’m going, and I decided to put together a few of those images into one post:
1981 - Year Zero
Me as a Baby, just four months old. I was born in Guam, on a military base, but soon after we were off to Hawaii where my biological father was stationed.
1983 - Year Two
This is me sitting on my biological father’s lap, playing with a hat. It was taken on a military base in Fort Leonard Wood, MO - My brother would be born about a month later, and my sister a year and a half after that.
1987 - Year Six
The strange headgear that I’m rocking is actually a protective cup to protect my right ear after a successful surgery to remove a tumor. The tumor had been growing behind my right ear for some time and was causing hearing loss and inattentiveness on my part.
This event would later affect my desire to join the Air Force and become an astronaut, leading me to instead go to the University of Washington and study Psychology.
1991 - Year Ten
The next picture I have available to me is when I was ten years old and living in Brownsville, TX. My father was stationed over in Germany, and my mother decided that she wanted us to continue our education in the United States - a decision that I wish had gone a different direction for a variety of reasons (it would have been amazing to have studied another culture in their homeland).
Still, it wasn’t all bad. We ended up living with my grandmother for two years, and though she spoke only Spanish, it gave me an opportunity to learn a far different culture and to experience what it is like to live in a less-than-affluent border town.
Here I am playing at the local public pool, happy as a clam in the water.
1999 - Year Eighteen
We skip ahead again, this time to my 18th year and my graduation from Bethel High School in Spanaway, WA. (Eventually I’ll get more pictures of the in-between years, but as the one usually WITH and BEHIND the camera, pictures of me - especially dated ones - are hard to come by.)
As the typical nerdy, socially-awkard kid that moved around from place to place during his formative years, I hated high school. I hated everything about the social structures and the classes and… well everything. I hated it so much that I spent most of my time attending Pierce Community College in the Running Start Program. And most of my friends were not my fellow classmates, but the class below me. I didn’t care, they were far more interesting to me.
2000 - Nineteen
Ah, the year after high school, when I was still attending Pierce Community College and completing my AAS degree and contemplating going to the University of Washington. This image was from Dash Point, near Federal Way. It was one of the last camping trips that I went on with my old high school friends before I ended up leaving for Seattle and college, and a new life.
Physically I had changed in the one year from graduating high school. My parents were finalizing their divorce, and my brother and sister were dealing with high school issues of their own.
2001 - Year Twenty
This was probably one of my best years of my early twenties. I was dating someone for the first time (seriously I was an awkward kid/young adult), going to classes, studying a field that deeply interested me, living in Seattle, away from home and the fallout of my parents’ divorce.
I was also exploring my more creative side - and realizing that I actually had one. My high school friend James and I would post photoshop wars on Blogger - one of the first blogging communities out at the time. I was starting to play with video and video editing software in my spare time.
2002 - Year Twenty-One
I was living in the dorms at the University of Washington, and the Freshman Fifteen was apparent. It’s what happens when you have access to tons of food, readily available, and no real way to cook for yourself. Add to that that the Ave was just down the road (and really cheap General Tso’s Chicken) and well, you get it.
Also, pooka-shell necklaces were in, and I had one. That’s probably the most embarrassing part of this photo.
2003 - Year Twenty-Two
Ah, the ‘Year of the Break-Up’ and moving out of the dorms. My first real girlfriend and I broke up, which was awkward and tragic for a young me who had not experienced that kind of thing before. Look, I even grew out a moody, angsty goatee to boot. Oh, and I got a piercing because she was getting a piercing and I wanted to be cool to her. (Guh, the WORST reason to do ANYTHING, let alone a piercing.)
On the plus side, I obtained my Bachelor of Science in Psych and I met some really great people, like my friend Adrian, who remains a close friend to this day.
(I can’t help but stare at that goatee and piercing and shudder — good thing they would both be gone within a matter of weeks.)
2004 - Year Twenty-Three
2004 was an upswing year and the start of a really great stretch of time. It started fairly slowly. I was doing small research work, and working at Hollywood Video (before they were eventually shuttered). Then, around May, I landed my first real job working at the VA Puget Sound Health Care System, which I stayed with for six years.
This picture was on my last day at Hollywood Video, where I decided to let loose and wear a large foam cowboy hat. The glasses were fake - though as it turns out, I’m getting to the point where I need real ones.
2005 - Year Twenty-Four
I loved being 24. I don’t think I have any really terrible memories of this year. This image is of my first time actually visiting the Space Needle, and I believe this was also the first year I attended Bumbershoot.
I’d also meet another really great and close friend of mine: DeAnn.
2006 - Year Twenty-Five
I go hiking as often as I can, and this was the year that really took hold. DeAnn had moved to Seattle and she and Adrian and I would go on excursions all the time. DeAnn was (and still is) especially great to have around because she loves taking pictures and is always willing to go out with that express purpose in mind.
This image was taking during one of those photo-excursion trips, to Discovery Park in Seattle.
2007 - Year Twenty-Six
And then there is the ‘Year of Amanda’ when we first met, at the VA of all places, and started dating pretty soon after that. This one is another picture taken by DeAnn of us at Bumbershoot. I think this was our third date or something close to that, and the first time that she met my friends Adrian and DeAnn (and Vinh too, I believe).
2008 - Year Twenty-Seven
More hiking. More outdoors adventures. This time with Amanda being available. Though she was in graduate school and unable to come along on all of my adventures, she did make it for quite a few, including this one.
This was a hike up to Stuart Lake. The water was freezing, but I jumped in (with all my hiking clothes on) anyway. Adrian and DeAnn accompanied us.
2009 - Year Twenty-Eight
Long-gone is the pooka-shell necklace - in it’s place is something that I cannot recall. And there’s an egg. This is me celebrating my twenty-eighth birthday at Fantasia Family Fun Park.
To be fair, I had actually had a birthday weekend with Amanda by going to La Connor and doing the whole bed-n-breakfast and hiking thing. I think we tried to get their for the tulips but they were not in bloom yet.
2010 - Year Twenty-Nine
The ‘Year of Exodus’ when Amanda, Chloe, and I would leave Seattle for Missouri (and later Arizona). This was also the last year that Amanda and I would live in the Purple House by Ravenna. We would leave Seattle in June, with no idea if we’d ever be back.
Chloe - who I’ve had since 2006 and who I’d argue was instrumental in hooking Amanda - would come with us for our cross-state adventure.
2011 - Year Thirty
Of all the places to turn 30, Missouri was not the place I had envisioned. Still, Amanda made the most of it for me, and though I was away from family and friends, it was still a positive experience.
And later, we’d take a few trips back to Seattle for her dissertation defense, and for Sakura-Con’s Art Show, which I was now running. I’d also strengthen a friendship with my friend Adham, and grow my friendships with Whitney and Michelle - two people who would help me deal with living away from home.
The other great thing fro Missouri: adopting our second pup - Nikki.
2012 - Year Thirty-One
Thirty-One brought Scottsdale, AZ and the sliding scale of good and bad fortunes in awhile. When I first moved with Amanda to Arizona, in 2011, I immediately started looking for work. I wouldn’t find anything until 2012, and that was in retail.
My relationship with Amanda would also suffer as a result of that and generally despondent feelings about life and it’s direction.
But then, in the later half, I’d make new friends, including my friend Nathan - with whom I rediscovered a desire for subversive creativity and storytelling - reaffirm my own personal goals and my relationship and come to terms with things around me.
Amanda and I ended up going on a good amount of hikes in the area - including this one at Camelback.
2013 - Year Thirty-Two
The Return - this was the year that Amanda and I discovered we were coming back to Seattle. The picture above is of Nikki watching as I drive the car on our roadtrip back.
Thirty-two was definitely an upswing year and even though I am still working retail and not utilizing my full set of skills gained from college, things are definitely looking up.
Amanda and I were able to reconnect with friends, immerse ourselves in some of the old haunts we visited before, we went hiking, and we celebrated her 30th with friends.
And that is my timeline, so far. It’s also an attempt to look at photography and creativity in a new light.