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The Long Road

Updated: Jun 15, 2020



The drive along the southern coast of Iceland was a unique new opportunity to be creative and open up. I quickly made friends with my roommate from San Jose, an older professional photographer with a kind face and a quiet disposition.

It wasn’t until a moment much later in the workshop that I caught a revealing glimpse of the story behind his character. He turned to some of the passengers we were riding with on our way to a bar and said, “I can make my eyes twinkle.” He closed his eyes for a moment then opened them and they seemed to be more saturated, more rich with a deeper quality. I saw an emotion in them, but one of a memory. I asked him how he did that... He looked at me with those blue eyes and with a breath he said,

“I think of a lost love.”

Suddenly I understood this kind man from San Jose in a more authentic way, I saw a younger man within. I saw his heart, I saw the depth of his emotion and his bittersweet nostalgia. I saw the amount of reflection he had done to face the pain of loss. I saw that he kept the good memories with him, but they were tainted by the loss. He held on to them because they were beautiful, and through it I saw more beauty in him. I gained a profound respect for his age... for how much experience he held.

It’s difficult to put into words but I feel that there are moments that I intuitively understand the essence of a person beyond any possible description. It’s like a whole other sense that has no name, it’d be like seeing the entirety of a persons past experiences but in a pattern. It's hidden in the tone of their voice, the wrinkles of their face, the subtle expressions they make. This pattern is reminiscent of trying to remember dreams after waking up...you can feel the essence of the dream but the tangible memory isn’t there.

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Photography by Benjamin Sumner Franke