When I saw this shot while reviewing the raw images from my recent shoot with model Gilberto Mendez, I knew this one would become something. I rarely shoot with strong, non-diffuse light, so this has a freshness for me anyway, but the pose, and the reaching arc of shadow said something to me, and I knew what it was going to be right away.

I am sure a lot of us feel this way, but I have always sensed a dark thread running through my family, a feeling that there was a poison root that wraps around us all and informs all we do. It can be depression, or a proclivity towards nihilism, cynicism and defeatism. It could be me projecting my own baggage onto the family as a whole, or just a reaction to my upbringing, I don't know, and I don't really need to trace the root back to its vague origins, I just accept that it's there, for me, and always has been. There is a sense that it holds me back, blocks my escape, binds me to it, and can never be shaken off.

We are all a product of our family, our experiences, and our chemistry. To accept it is maturity, and logical, but I have never been sure if I should try harder to achieve escape velocity or let these dark branches enfold me and become me. Maybe they already have. Maybe the key to what I call my art is the push and pull of these impulses, acceptance and resistance. Maybe the rarified air of moderate well-being is a myth, and no one has it really. Maybe those that claim to are trying too hard to be positive for the sake of it, to rewrite the sad history of us all. Maybe I am just a dark shadow against the light.

The title of this piece comes from a fantastic lyric by Paul Simon's song "Further to Fly" from the verse:

A recent loss of memory, a shadow in the family, a baby waves bye-bye…
The open palm of desire, it wants everything, it wants everything, it wants soil soft as summer
With the strength to push like spring…

Model: Gilberto Mendez

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