THE MIDDLE WORLD
Wide Edit no.02 photos captured mostly in Queens NY
DEVLIN CLARO: THE MIDDLE WORLD
I wish I could find a through-line here and call this a series. Truthfully I have binders full of these incidental moments, and the only property they share is that each moment revealed itself to me without my asking. So, as far as I'm concerned, these are a non-series. If I made music (or had fans, for that matter), these would be the leaks on YouTube. To some, it's clear why these were never released, but to others, they're hidden gems. I like to leave it up to those looking :) I can't unsee home, family and time passing in the changing of the seasons. But I'd like these works to have a life of their own beyond what they mean to me personally.
I'm not eloquent enough to summarize the whole story, but Suketu Mehta's novella What Is Remembered is hidden in an envelope on the end page of Joel Sternfeld's book of Queens landscapes in the early 2000s (Landscape As Longing, ©2016 Steidl). Mehta's story takes place in Jackson Heights, where one character describes Queens as the "middle world.…neither here nor there, it is a place that's hospitable to all of us, any of us who are possessed...by longing." I like this description as much as I like the fact that it's printed on a standalone booklet and hidden in the back. Its mysterious. I think that’s another quality these pictures share.
When I was younger, my quickest and most guttural response to "why are you photographing such things" was that life is dreary and scary and boring but you can derive from it so much more feeling by making pictures and staring at them. Lately, I like to envision a world on an alternate timeline running parallel to our own. A "middle world" possessing more vivacity, color, strangeness and mystery than the one we know - we're only granted access through photographing it and studying the results.
A Bizarro world, but the gamut of emotions you feel is wider, the breeze is thicker, the subwoofers vibrate deeper, the smells more pungent - everything is on 10 but in both directions. Maybe I'm 'possessed by longing' for this version of a middle world. And it works like memory or a movie. A mystery movie. Like it's revealing itself to us as we try to find it, but only in the photos that take us there. So if I’m trying to give these context, I’d say I’m writing and solving (at once) a mystery movie about this outerborough, lol. We don't know what the mystery is just yet, but we're piecing it together.
I also want to mention that the photo of Jahzair (the boy in the MILANO shirt) was made in collaboration with my brother and artist, Caleb Giles.