I didn’t enjoy reading until I was about 19 years old and a friend let me borrow The Gunslinger, the first installment of The Dark Tower series by Stephen King. I followed Roland Deschain’s journey through 7 books and thousands of pages. One of the many ideas that drew me to his quest was that he followed an ancient path, along one of the beams that holds all of existence together. All Things Serve the Beam is a photographic journey though my path. It represents moments of insight, foresight and hindsight that I captured along the way.
My story begins in a townhouse in Hoffman Estates, where I’d sneak through a crack in the fence to visit the record store and movie theatre nearby. What was once a breach in the separation between the homes and the entertainment capital of the neighborhood is now a paved walkway for anyone to cross, but what’s on the other side isn’t nearly as inspiring as what was there in my youth.
After studying to be a documentary filmmaker, I started teaching video at alternative schools on the west side. I was at the right place, at the right time, doing the right thing and it seemed to manifest in the world around me. I finally understood how it must have felt for Roland to follow the path but self-doubt and forces beyond my control pushed me toward a dead end.
Like many others of my generation, I face a job market with very limited prospects. The ladder to success is missing the first few rungs and if feels like you need a trampoline just to take the next step. Market forces have blocked off the passages that our parents used to reach their goals and our hope rides on the chance that we find a gap in the fence to find the treasure on the other side.