Do you know how beautiful you are?
Throughout my adult life, the vision I had of my father was formed through hazy childhood memories and understandably-biased stories from my mother. I thought of him as lazy, party-obsessed, unintelligent, and selfish. When I began photographing with him, I approached the subject matter through my own selfish lens. The images reflected a need to be seen and loved by him. I recreated childhood moments that I missed out on. And above all, I visually screamed at him for missing such a big portion of my life. Halfway through creating this work, the tone began to shift as I started photographing observations of his life. The more insight he gave me into his present and past began to melt my constructed visions of who I thought he was. His perceived laziness became a desire to wind down from a lifetime of working grueling manual labor jobs. His inability to control his temper and abide by authority figures existed because of uncontrolled mental health issues which run rampant in the Markle family; most pertinent in the suicide of my father's closest brother, Bruce. My dad is the youngest of 11 children to a poor family in Warren, OH. Having experienced years of murders, prison sentences, sexual abuse, and countless hardships and tragedies, the Markle family is resilient and holds onto the love they have for each other to survive.
With this new outlook on my family, I began to look back to that period of my life without my father. I always felt like an alien; surrounded by people who did not understand me. Rage fits occurred often and I could never pinpoint where the feelings came from. I was carrying this heavy weight around with me but I didn't know what the weight was. Upon this reflection, the images made with my father shifted. I became more curious about his story inside the Markles and how those traumas may have transferred to me. I found solace in my emotional twin. The images began exploring this connection between us that has always existed through our blood, as well as our new freedom to navigate our minds together. This project is a photographic journey through the last 5 years of constructing a relationship with my father.