Jake died on December 28, 2013 in his apartment in Palm Springs. He was 24 years old. The following year was mostly a blur. I have written about it in detail on my first blog, The Infinite Fountain, so I won’t go into too much about it here. Now, the project that had begun so simply 9 months ago took on an entirely new meaning – it became more of a memoriam for Jake. He was an accomplished photographer, beginning from the time he could first hold a camera. Throughout middle school and high school, he refined his vision, working with film primarily, printing on a variety of media including plastic, cloth, and metal. I always thought he would make a great portrait photographer, he had such a winning way with his subjects. Mario Testino was a photographer he most admired, and his portraits had much the feel of Testino.
During that first few months, I would share the photos with him, and asked him to help me choose when I had made multiple shots of the same subject. Many of the shots document the last few months of his life as they intersected ours through the lens of those ubiquitous waiting areas. He lived in Palm Springs for those last months, we visited him often, and I got a chance to expand my universe of waiting.
After that horrible December day, and the first month of mourning, we spent a fair amount of time in Ojai at a cabin of a dear friend. She made it available for us as a retreat, a getaway from the confines of our grief-stricken household, a chance to escape to a place that held no memory of Jake. So many places we might have gone, we had also gone with him and his presence, or rather the absence of his presence weighed so heavily that it was a blessing to have neutral ground to flee to. As I moved through the fog of my grief, I still managed to observe and photograph those areas in which I found myself waiting, wherever I was. It became a sort of therapy, a way in which I could get close to him if only for the brief moment when I framed the shot on the screen of my phone and tripped the shutter