Inspiration: This shoot was prompted by a call for an upcoming local community project. Gaining inspiration from Grant Wood’s “American Gothic” made at the onset of the great depression. It’s satirical commentary somehow felt once again appropriate. In that it is meant to be shared as a positive statement not only about rural American values, rather all human value, celebrating the human spirit. This is the new normal.
This shoot was Takuya and my first shoot together. Takuya is often the subject of my infrequent iphone photography, and I his, but we had never done an official modeling gig together. I, Cassandra Boyd, have been modeling off and on now for a few years, but Takuya had never done so before. This spring contained many disappointments for me. Takuya and I were supposed to visit Japan, I was supposed to have a graduation ceremony for me obtaining my bachelor’s degree, I was supposed to have a graduation party with all my friends and family, I was supposed to present my nutrition research at a conference, and I was supposed to have a party to celebrate my 30th birthday… all of which were cancelled due to the pandemic.
After weathering a few months of mourning and lack of motivation, I was really longing for some sort of creative outlet. The photographer of these photos and I have worked on multiple projects together, so when she reached out to me about another I was quite excited to participate in another one of her photoshoots. She has this amazing eye for detail; she captures emotion and textures in this unique way that I absolutely adore. Our past creation of visual art together brought us closer, opened us up to one another, and we have been friends for years now. She described to me her creative vision, and both Takuya and I tend to dress in darker attire anyways so we jumped on the opportunity.
The only accessory we lacked was masks that matched. I reached out to a couple friends and one of my best friends let us borrow 2 matching masks that were black and grey. The day of the shoot, Takuya slept in while I spent a couple hours getting ready. Around noon we drove to another part of the county we live in and met up with my photographer outside her house. I hadn’t seen her in months and it was so difficult to not be able to reach out and hug her. We all carefully maintained social distance for the entire time we spent shooting together. She hopped in her car and we followed her to a house that was towering, vacant, and ominous. It’s flaking paint and decrepit wooden shingles were the perfect backdrop, and our photographer selected it for the photoshoot for that very reason. People strolled past the house and looked on in wonder as our photographer captured these images. Then once the photoshoot was complete we from a safe distance vowed to see each other again once things with the pandemic (hopefully) calmed. After that we parted ways to return back to our homes.
Artist Bio: Models: Cassandra Boyd and Takuya Jorgensen. Photographer: Back Box Images.
Taku and I have been together 4 years. We live together in a single bedroom in a shared house with our black cat Jynx. I recently just graduated from college and am in the process of applying to a masters program; my career goal is to become a clinical dietitian.Takuya is in the process of figuring out his career path and is working on an AA at out local community college; he is also an essential worker (a server in a restaurant). When Takuya and I met he had been in remission for stage 3 cancer for 1 year. This spring he hit the 5 year remission mark, which is a huge achievement for him. We take care of each other in the ways we struggle to take care of ourselves, I thank the stars every day that I have him by my side during these intense times.