• Photographer
    Jason Houge
  • Prize
    Honorable Mention
  • Company/Studio
    Jason Houge Studios
  • Date of Photograph
  • Technical Info
    film and digital images

An ongoing autobiographical project five years in the making that looks to the present to come to terms with and acknowledge the scars of a very troubled past. The subjects of these images are my chosen family. By looking at their lives, relationships and current conditions, I reexamine a past which continues to form who I am to this day. This work explores the lives of young adults in poverty who struggle with their health, bills, and foreseeing their future. It explores a personal spiritualism that has become a basis of strength to overcome and what it means to have a home. Through the process of undertaking this work a healing process has begun. Long dead relationships with birth family have been rekindled and new understandings have been formed.


Reconciliation This project is an on-going autobiographical story nearly five years in the making. My intent is to come to terms with and acknowledge the hidden scars of my past. Childhood was not accompanied by the usual troubles of youth. I was born to a poor Catholic family that never seemed to settle for very long. The first of many nomadic changes happened shortly after my birth when my parents moved from Oregon to Wisconsin. By the second grade, I had already attended nearly every elementary school in Green Bay, Wisconsin. As I approached the period where most boys are beginning their coming of age, I was shuffled between divorced parents and ultimately send away to live in a variety of institutions, shelters and a group home. This experience resulted in the effective loss of nearly four years of life, education and development to violence, gang influence, doctors, stiff beds, and medication. This pattern continued all throughout high school and only came to an end when I was finally old enough to set out on my own. During the two decades since, I found myself mirroring my parents by struggling with poverty and living a semi-nomadic life. All the while trying to rediscover what it is to feel, be a friend and a human being. My “rebirth” has relied heavily on an inner spirituality, close friends, mentors, education and forgiveness. While the accompanying work hints at this past and also gives insight into the current evolution of life as I know it. Through observing those closest to me, my chosen family, not only do my subjects help tell my story but also share their own personal triumphs and traumas, feelings of solitude and depression, and kinship.

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