The Image: Lauren Henkin, "Displaced 6, 7"

Lauren Henkin
Displaced 6, 7 from the series "Displaced"
(left) 2007, (right) 2008

This diptych was made during one of the most difficult periods of my life. I was separating from my husband of ten years while going through multiple health inssues. I was an emotional wreck.

During that time, I was lucky enough to be able to escape to Nova Scotia, an island in Eastern Canada appropriately referred to as East of Ordinary.

I wasn’t aware of this at the time, but I was drawn to photographing the things that I knew, in my gut, I’d be losing… the idyllic representations of the life we had built together—a house, possessions, safety, comfort, the surface of beauty that was our marriage. The image on the left was an accurate representation of how I felt, as if I could communicate in an image the question that was repeating in my mind when you realize you are truly displaced, What now?

When I returned from Nova Scotia, I started photographing in the large urban park around my house in Maryland. While the images in Nova Scotia represented the softer set of emotions—the sadness, the lonliness, the loss—the images in Rock Creek Park would show the darker set—the anger, the frustration, and the fear. Since childhood, and growing up with woods in my backyard, I had always avoided being alone in the woods. Rock Creek is a park without many open spaces, instead filled with singular paths which steer in and out of recognition.

I only recently started pairing the two sets of images, a way of acknowledging that while the photographs represent two distinct parts of the same experience, the edges outlining the emotions of divorce are never so easily defined.