Let me tell ya folks, nostalgia ain't what it used to be. We're reminded of this every time we think we have it figured out, or at least I am. This past week was a case in point. My big brother and little sister and I met up in Jackson Hole, Wyoming for a week of photography up in the Tetons. Jim and I get together every year for a photographic excursion (and a little tequila) and the addition this year of my portrait photographer sister made a very special family event. And the Tetons hold a very special place in our family's heart and memories.
We spent a lot of time up there, going back to the 1960's and '70's. It was probably our dad's favorite place to hang out for a summer and paint; the barn you see here, out on Mormon Row, featured prominently in many of his watercolors. And for me, too: I spent many seasons there in the '80's as well, photographing landscapes for a studio I worked for, and conducting photography workshops. I recall it being more rustic then, not nearly as refined and developed as it is now. I looked for some of my favorite haunts and watering holes which, predictably, are long gone. That's progress for you, and tourists. But considering that this is without a doubt one of the most beautiful places on earth, you can hardly blame them.
Thomas Wolfe famously said you can't go home again, and I imagine he tried doing just that. But for my brother and I, home is an elusive concept. We moved a lot growing up, and so attachments and sentiments were more fleeting. You make do with what you have, where you are. Maybe this is why, for nearly our entire adult lives, we have been so passionate about photography. If photographs can be developed over time and made permanent, then maybe memories can, too. It's a comforting notion.
It reminds me of home.