I remember standing in a barn on an island in Sweden almost exactly a year ago. When the duo playing for the night sang "What if our hard work ends in despair, what if the road won't take me there.." Tears streamed down my face in relief. After having heard that song a hundred times in the past month worrying and thinking "What if I won't make it to New York and ICP? What then?" I had finally booked my flight! I was still worried though, that I wouldn't be good enough. That it would too hard. My mother flew with me. And the second I dropped her back at JFK I knew I'd be fine. 
It has been one of the roughest years in my life. I've never had so many sleepless nights, anxeity attacks or tension headaches. I don't know how many times I've hidden in the darkroom and cried my eyes out. I have fallen in love and I have had my heart broken. I have faced myself and all of my inner demons. And even though I've been at my most miserable many times in the past year I have still never been as happy and confident with myself. I have never before felt so free and unconditionally dedicated. I've had the oppotunity to put all of my focus into art and photograhy. I have grown so incredibly much! I have felt loved and cared for and I have been surrounded with sooo many beautiful and talented people that I have grown to love. And somewhere along the way I learned to love myself.
I sacrificed a lot of things too, though. Things like free time, parties, intimacy, health and sleep. But I did it for something I care even more about; my work. I produced a solid, honest body of work. I have made a book. I have collaborated. I learned to shoot film and to print in black & white and color darkrooms and made incredible progress in Photoshop. Photography really became a craft and a form of art for me. And I've never been more sure of what I want to do with my life.
Tomorrow I'm leaving. I have said goodbye to almost everyone. I still have my three hardest ones to go through. I'm not sure how I am going to be able to do it. The two weeks after deciding to go home has been so highly emotional. I've cried every time I've gotten on the subway because, when I enter my own little mental space. My meditation space. There's a scene from Ally McBeal where John tells Ally, "If you sit back and reflect on your year, if it doesn't bring you tears, out of either joy or sadness, consider the year wasted." I started it two weeks ago and I have went through a month at a time. This is why I cry on the subway. Like a little baby.
At first I felt like going home was a failure. That I worked so hard and now I'm not able to stay. Truth is, it's not a failure. It's an admission to that I am still young and that I still have amazing plans to follow through with, and to go home for a little while and rest and get healthy again and to work up enough money to be able to keep doing what I want to do. And I'm going to see my little brother!
To everyone who's been part of my year, thank you for putting up with my insanity, making sure I'm eating and sleeping and for simply just being there. I love you and I am going to miss you so much.
hasselblad with tri-x.
If you're not pictured here it doesn't mean that I don't love you any less. Either you left New York already or I just didn't get to photograph you. But special thanks to Annie, Angie, Julia, Sakshi, Rodrigo, Kirsten, Jasper, Marina, Jen and Jamaal, Tim and Per who really got me through this. And my parents and brother for the most amazing support imaginable.
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