Corbin; Rushsylvania, OH
A while back, I had an idea to do a mixed-media project about people and their body image. I never ended up pulling the whole thing together, but I did a few shoots over the course of a few months.
The first one, and the one that really stands out in my memory, was a guy named Corbin who lived an hour and a half north of my home in Columbus. From time to time when I get an idea, I throw a Hail Mary up on Craigslist to see if I can pique anybody’s interest. I typed a few lines about what I was hoping to accomplish and clicked post.
A few days later, I got an e-mail from Corbin. He wrote a pretty long message, going into losing a lot of weight after being diagnosed with HIV and had recently moved to his mom’s house from Georgia. He ended it with “don’t really know if this is the kind of story you are looking for, but thought I would at least say hi :-)”
We e-mailed back and forth a little bit and set up a time. I threw caution to the wind and convinced myself it was a good idea to drive out into the country to meet a faceless person from Craigslist. My only other experience had been selling a lens to some guy in a Starbucks parking lot a few years prior. Nothing could go wrong, right?
I hit the road and ended up passing the place a few times before I managed to find the driveway. The house was pretty far back off the road, and I was admittedly nervous, but I pulled in and knocked on the door and he let me into the garage. He smoked a cigarette and we talked about being 20-somethings, living in Ohio, maybe leaving someday, maybe not, maybe returning, and how we were both kind of scared that the other was going to be a Craigslist killer.
I made some photos of him in the pastures surrounding his home and worked our way inside- it was in the 30s that day. We eventually took a break and sat in my car (the best soundproof room you could ever find) while I interviewed him and recorded some audio. He talked about how he contracted the disease, what it’s like living with it, the stigma surrounding it, how he was affected both mentally and physically and on and on.
The light was getting to be pretty nice, so we made one more walk through his house- at this point I’d been there for close to three hours- and I shot this portrait of him near the front door.