*It was the summer of 2009 and I didn't have a clue about New York City.
*I was naive and enthusiastic, and I wanted to see everything through a camera lens.
*I was braver than I am now, fearless and unworried about people's opinions. I didn't know much about fine dining or the finer things in life; I didn't know anything about what went on in New York nor did I care, yet I was hungrier than I had ever been and have ever been. I was voracious with my camera; I was brazen with strangers. I fed off the purest form of energy that exists in New York City, the energy of a city that is awake and always moving and the thrill of knowing that the possibility of ecstatic discovery lay as equally in getting lost as it did in seeking and finding. I had no conceptions of "cool" or "in." I was not self-conscious enough to revere those things. Instead, I placed art-making on my altar, and the urgency to make a good image swelled in me daily. There was no worry about who I was going to be or where I was going later in life, only the immediacy of the people I was meeting and the things I was doing.
*I was obsessed with cats, little dolls, cavernous spaces, bookstores, and the desolation of Coney Island. I don't know why I liked those thing, but then again, I never questioned why I did or didn't. I spent nights falling asleep in my neighbor's room to Wes Anderson movies. I ate the most disgusting, rubbery carrot raisin cookies from the Union Square Greenmarket and became attached to the way they tasted. I cat-sat for a friend and ended up with flea bites all over my body.
*I'm not sure what happened after that summer, but there hasn't been a moment since when I felt freer and bolder than I did that summer. I didn't carry the same expectations, perceptions, and determinations of myself that I do now. God, those things are heavy. There's a picture of me at the end of that summer, as I was about to move out of my Brooklyn sublet. I'm laughing and totally clueless as to what's going on; if you look closer at the picture, you can see that my fly is completely unzipped, and I'm there, grinning like a fool, completely unaware. That unawareness was not the ignorance of a blissful fool; that unawareness was not giving a damn about things that weren't worth giving a damn about. As close to careless as carefree gets. As candid and unaffected as naivete allowed. Those were some good times.