By Aline Smithson. Lenscratch originally featured this article on July 17, 2016.
For many parents, the camera comes out only to capture the ideal: grinning children at birthday parties, a sunny day at the beach, stiffly posed portraits in front of the Christmas tree. The house is clean, the family composed and reality dismissed in favor of perfection. These are the staged memories carried with us into adulthood. Fortunately, there are parents who use photography to explore something deeper–truths about parenthood, childhood revealed as a time of stress and insecurity, familial dysfunctions, aging parents, and raising a family in a time of turmoil and uncertainty. In sharing these realities, the stories or narratives that felt once so personal, find a universal appreciation in their truthfulness.
Troy Colby garnered an Honorable Mention in the 2016 Lenscratch Student Award for his project, This will pass. I promise you. His work is at once revealing and poignant as his photographs speak as much to Troy’s concerns as a father as to his participant observer role of documenting his son as he moves through the landmines of childhood.
Troy was born and raised in a small rural farming community. Living in rural America has been the backdrop and setting that have helped Troy refine his vision. In the past few years, he has chosen to work with his son in creating handcrafted worlds. Together they have found a love of recreating dreams and haunting emotions.
Troy holds a BFA in Fine Art Photography from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco and is currently working on his MFA. His work has been seen in Black and White Magazine, Plates to Pixels, F-Stop, Adore Noir Magazine and is a 2015 Critical Mass finalist; along with galleries from Miami to Portland.
This will pass, I promise you.
The nights are long and our days are short. Sometimes the moments slip past us. Other times they move so slow that you unable to hold still. Your determination keeps you going until your body is tired and hurting. This frustration of having to stop is tough and I know that it puts a pressure on you that we are unable to see. Same for your migraines, I know that it is frustrating. No child of your age should have this pain or feel this way. Yet you keep on going. You have always felt the need to always keep moving and busy. I am sorry you have picked up this trait from me, if I could change it I would. I am still learning to deal with and handle your mood swings from total excitement to the sudden changes of fear, anger and sadness.
For me as your dad, I wonder many times where and what did I do wrong? I know this is not necessarily the case. It leaves me searching and wanting to understand. I picked up my camera really not knowing where it would lead. I know you do not want your image taken and for that I am sorry. I have found in using my camera in capturing these moments. I am able to approach this with a new level of understanding and peace. It allows me to be in a state where I can be a better dad for you during this time. I hope that all of this will pass as time goes on for you.
All images © Troy Colby