My Dad began packing boxes in our basement during the winter of 2009. “Are we moving?” I asked. “Maybe.” he replied. It turned out that summer we did move. My Dad and I drove with our dog and the fish tank, from Michigan to Florida. My Mom and sister tied things up at our old home and took a flight down a few weeks later.
Arriving in Florida felt like a dream. It wasn’t real. A layer of humidity blanketed the flat landscape and the hot sun turned my skin a color it had never been before. I quickly made friends at my new school. Those last childhood memories were the first memories I had of Florida. Saving tortoises from being roadkill. Spotting sea turtles at the beach at night. Splashing in pools and catching lizards.
Each year passed and the reality of Florida began to creep in as I became a teenager. I began to see how politics shaped the landscape. Tides became higher and buildings expanded the skylines. A drowning fantasy. When I would return home from college, the changes became more apparent than ever.
Portrait of Florida explores how the past and present intertwine, reflecting the ever changing magical landscape that is the Sunshine State.