Sometimes you show up at a place with one suitcase and leave five years later with two on a plane and fourteen boxes on a boat crossing the ocean. You cry in six different places in one day, and at the seventh, you think you've perfected the goodbye hug, but realize there's no such thing as a perfect goodbye hug.
You leave your traces in cardboard boxes on the side of the street and in wooden frames hanging in your best friend's living room. The traces they leave with you are handwritten I love you's in a grey palm sized moleskine that's falling apart at the seams. Or a pair of silver earrings in the shape of teacups. In the taste of coconut icecream at 11 PM on a Sunday, after standing elbow to elbow making pineapple fried rice in a sticky overheated Jamaica Plain apartment.
You make plans and promises to see each other in three months, in a year, or in two years at a football match in Toulouse. You tell them to get What's App on their Androids because international texting rates are unbelievable. These are small comforts you resort to after getting used to seeing someone every day to having to coordinate a pixelated Skype date with an eight-hour time difference. These are the compromises you have to agree on, the compromises you're not ready to make.
It's six in the morning after a sleepless night and you're thinking about these compromises. About a visit that you made time and time again, until you no longer felt like a visitor. It reminds you that you can come and go, but at the end of the day, you're just getting on another airplane and you've memorized the routine at this point.
You go through security with your tightly packed luggage. The last compromise you have to make is to accept the idea that after all these years, you can no longer call that place home.
You dig through your purse for your passport and find the keys to the apartment you forgot to hand in.
Well, you think, this could be another excuse to be a traveling visitor again.
On Visiting is photographic documentation of the final six months before Fatima’s graduation, these six months eventually turned into the final days before departure from Boston, USA in 2014. Compiled through staging and photographing with a 4x5 large format view camera on Kodak Portra 400 film, the series was made as a cathartic attempt to preserve the memories tied to the places and relationships formed after a five year stay in a foreign country.