An exploration of connection and disconnection
Slim looked through George and beyond him. “Ain’t many guys travel around together,” he mused. “I don’t know why. Maybe ever’body in the whole damn world is scared of each other.”
This quote from Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men imagines a perpetual, unchanging sense of suffering relates to the idea of a particular kind of isolation— an isolation that is unchanging and in contrast to the flow of time. This thesis considers several sequences of photographic work as expressions of unchanging solitude.
To a certain extent every individual moves through life experiencing isolation due to the human phenomenon of self-awareness. Sense of oneself allows for the development of unique interpretations of the world, specific to the individual. These unique interpretations frame the way in which one views the world, often known as perception. Experience also conditions perception, as the process of personally encountering, undergoing or observing something imposes upon one’s understanding of the world. Because each person has had unique and different experiences, experience becomes a barrier isolating each individual from one another due to their perception of the world. Within this thesis body of work, a distinct perception of the world, as a result of past experience imposing upon one’s interpretation of place, expresses this isolation felt by the photographer, the subject matter, and later the viewer. Thus, demonstrating the dichotomy behind isolations ability to both separate one from connection, while the experience of isolation is one that is shared throughout the human experience.
The photographs contain barriers, morbidity, and references to violence. Recognized in the subject matter are emotions of helplessness, suppression, repulsion, disconcertion, and aggression. These emotions tend to be by-products of the experience of isolation, further propelling the sense of disconnect within the work. The choice of the medium of photography creates more isolation, as the nature of the medium is to isolate and capture a moment from the past. Photography always establishes a relationship between the viewer and the subject, allowing for empathy to be evoked through the realization of the placement of the lens. However, the subject matter plays off one another through color, focus, framing and placement within frame in such a way that allows for visual connections to be made, mimicking the way in which the shared experience of isolation creates connections.
Physical barriers, within the work, heighten a sense of isolation because of their restrictive quality, and they block the reading of the space behind the barriers. Simultaneously, the barriers act against their nature, as composition and lines of these barriers act as guides for moving through the frame. The barriers also reference one another, in form and color, mimicking the way that across humanity, connection often results from a shared understanding of experiencing isolation.
Violence eludes from the photographs, creating separations, as the violence forcefully severs desire for connection to work. The physical barriers, such as fences or caution tape, present violence as being held back, which creates comfort, suggesting a possibility of connection. Restricted violence is seen in the objects within the photographs that reference morbidity as either encased dead animals, or ineffective violent objects such as a saw that has rusted. Because of the photographic image, the moments of restricted violence have already occurred, evoking a sense of helplessness within the work. Additionally the vibrant alluring colors counter-balance the repulsion of this violence, by providing some comfort when looking at theses images.
Therefore, the relationships between the subject matter and the composition presented in the work create a tension formed by the play between repulsion and allure. This tension works to propel the sense of disconcertion within the work. The photographs begin to tell a story, using form, light, color, and texture, which reflects a non-critical interpretation of unchanging isolation that leaves the viewer with a choice, yet presents impediments to making a coherent choice. Isolation is an experience that carries through both Leave Me and Abandoned, transcending culture to establish a desire for connections that are severed by barriers and separations of reality.
To explore isolation within this thesis body of work, the paper has been organized thematically into different sections. It will first introduce the separate bodies of work Leave Me and Abandoned discussing the way in which the subject matter alludes to isolation. From there the paper is broken down into seven common elements expressed throughout the work, isolation, barriers, colors, severed connections, morbidity, violence, and biding. Each element will be discussed by exploring its presence within a specific photograph from the body of work. Throughout the paper, two other artists, Sally Mann and W. Eugene Smith, will be referenced to explore the themes further. Finally, the paper will connect back to isolation with a two final images to spring board a broader conclusion of the work.
The photographic series Leave Me explores isolation through both physical barriers and implied barriers resulting from social and economic conditions. Leave Me speaks to themes that are personal to the experience of documenting Cuba from an American’s perspective. In four different collections with 10-12 photographs in each, echoed forms, colors, and subjects string together to both create a holistic representation of Cuba while simultaneously connecting motifs that are beyond just the Cuban experience.
Leave Me reflects the unique culture of the Cubans to display themes of isolation and suppression, which extend throughout the world. The photographic series Leave Me addresses how personal experience tends to influence perception of place. The personal perception of place conditions the way in with the photographer frames the subject matter. Vibrant colors within the work attract, as the photographs depict images of bizarre morbidity and curious scenes of unavoidable clutter, creating tension between repulsion and attraction. Tension impedes connection to the work, evoking the sense of isolation for the viewer. Furthermore, experiences’ influence over perception conditions the way in which the work is read. Leave Me images are of an uncertain location, a location that appears to be a developing country, as seen in the dilapidating, colonial style of architecture, the images of fallen rubble, air drying clothes, and a mystical shrine. The uncertainty of the location adds to the theme of isolation, as it separates one from knowledge of the place; thus, leaving the experience of viewing the work, as well as reactions to the work, to be personally exclusive to the viewer’s own experience. Continuing along in the sequence, the ethnicities of the people as the Latino or African, with no Caucasians, begin to hint at the location of these photographs. In addition, the content of the images, such as the outdoor caged birds, the Catholic saint, the beached sacrifice, the tribal mask, and the mystical shrine are all hints that help to define the culture; presumably placing the location of these photographs in a Latin American country.
The images then form a comprehensive portrait of a place, and once aware of the photographs being of Cuba, one is reminded of the isolation imposed upon the country due to U.S. trade relations. The thesis then goes on to connect the sense of isolation felt in Leave Me’s Cuba, to the sense of isolation felt in America in the photographic series Abandoned.
Abandoned presents separating barriers, which along with the use of color, forms, content, and composition, create a dichotomous relationship between fascination and repulsion. The tug and pull of fascination and repulsion brings about disconcertion, leading to a stagnant isolation. The work in its representation of symbols such as the American flag, wooden workshop, and flat screen TV’s presents a dichotomy of America as a place of progressiveness colliding with the rural. This collision of two separate American realities located in one place brings tension to the work, while also projecting the presence of unchanging isolation due to cultural and economic forces. Furthermore, the specific viewpoint of the photographer intensifies the juxtaposition of these two worlds.
Alluring color, reflected placement of forms within the same location within each frame, and repetition of themes bridge connections between the photographs as well as the different spheres of life located in place. Barriers in the series are both physical, such as caution tape or masks, and implied, such as separate realities, items referencing morbidity, or a tilted framing. The tilted framing reflects a unique perspective specific to the photographer that disorients the reading of the photograph, thus projecting an isolated scene abstracted from its reality. References to morbidity are interwoven through the physical barriers to suggest a withholding of violence. Morbidity then acts as a barrier itself by separating the physical living being from connection to the dead. Simultaneously the repeated forms of physical barriers, the eye-catching colors, and the continuous placement of forms are what attract the eye and connect each photograph to the next. These connections heighten the overall sense of isolation throughout the work.
Filth. 2012. Meg O’Neill. Digital Print. (18X13in)
Filth, from the Abandoned series, evokes feelings of isolation through the presentation of a filthy place where framing has shut down space and the forms within the frame reference a potentially threatening memory. It displays an image of a scene in which one cannot necessarily understand all the forms that are being presented easily. Most noticeable is the disgusting state of the space covered with dirt, chipped paint, and spattered marks of alcohol, as referenced by the red solo cup in the bottom corner. Filth repulses, disconnecting desire for interaction with the space.
The photograph disconnects the understanding of the space as the framing tilts what should be a horizontal line between the floor and the wall to instead be a diagonal moving up and to the right. This tilt works takes away this space’s sense of location, as it alters how we would normally see it. Projecting the photographer’s unique perspective of place as shaped by the photographer’s experience is the continuation of the tilt throughout the body of work. Additionally, adding to the confusion of space is the fact that one cannot assert this space to be specifically interior or exterior. The eliminating the source where the light comes, as well as excluding any distinguishing structures removes the space from being read as either interior or exterior. Isolation projects out from the space as it has now been removed from coherent understanding of location.
Furthermore, light highlights the lines along the ground, creating a path to the wall. The suggestion of a path, or journey, being blocked off by a wall acts as a barrier, shutting down the space within the photograph. Toiling with emotions, one is given a path, yet is denied the journey evoking a sense of restriction and hopelessness. The space reflects isolation, and this isolation, along with the filth, elicits a sense of abandonment.
The color of the red solo cup left within this dirty environment further enhances this restriction and hopelessness, by creating foreboding, as this object and space make reference to a chaotic scene which has been abandoned, projecting a potential threat of something unsettling that might have occurred here. Connotations behind the solo cup reference alcohol, whereas the color red, within this specific environment, references morbidity. In addition, the complimentary color of the green rectangle on the wall, further references morbidity when one thinks of forces of decay such as algae. Color association, when combined with the muck of the environment, suggest a potential violence that might have taken place here. However, because of the restrictive nature of photography, it is impossible to fully know what has taken place and thus one’s own experience imposes upon the interpretation of the photograph. This imposition of personal experience upon the photograph then elicits isolation by having the photograph’s implications be specific to the experiences of the one viewing it. Isolation becomes a barrier and one becomes compelled with finding connections that may lie in the rest of the series.
Caged Scarecrow. 2012. Meg O’Neill. Digital Print. (18X13in)
Physical barriers are made less impermeable through composition and color avoiding complete isolation from the work. In Caged Scarecrow, the vibrant colors attract the eyes and guide them as the orange rust draws the viewer’s eyes to the fence. The delicate blue then pulls them through the holes in the fence to discover the blue from the rail bouncing to the blue painted eye of a scarecrow that sits behind the fence. The viewer then becomes aware of the bizarre nature of the scene. Typically a scarecrow would reside in an open field protecting crops, yet here it dwells in a restricted urban environment. The alternative landscape, as well as the frame in which the scarecrow appears, disorients the viewer.
Additionally, the physical barriers presented in the work further disorient as they cut across the spaces presented, further preventing connecting access to defining the space. For example, the fence obscures the scene as it covers a majority of the image with diamond forms that break up what is behind the fence, limiting the knowledge of what appears in the photograph. In addition, the receding of size of the diamond forms plays with the eyes’ understanding of the space, creating further disorientation. The alignment of the fence and brick wall covers a majority of the photograph, yet in the top left corner is the top of the fence. An illusion to potential accessible spaces provides relief from the disorienting barriers. This tiny corner, along with the black spaces that go into the building behind the scarecrow, subtly hint at spaces that are beyond the information given in the photograph and thus present alternatives for access that are still restricted by the barrier of the lens. Although, the fence acts as a barrier, one can also interpret it as a form of connection through the shared experience of being in the presence of that fence, mimicking isolations play between connection and disconnection.
Furthermore, objectification of humanity and items of morbidity present more barriers to connection. Acting as a representational form of a human in order to keep out unwanted pests, the scarecrow’s form may be compared to the human body. The snap in the scarecrow’s neck where the head of the body flops over to stare towards the sky works against its humanity, reflecting just how inanimate and dead this object is. The play between humanity, where the human form evokes empathy for the dilapidated object, and objectification, along with the barriers of both the lens and the fence, emulate a demonstration of the connection and disconnection one feels towards objects which are no longer living. Thus, the tittering of the scarecrow’s humanity, along with its entrapment behind the barrier of the fence, illustrates feelings of isolation.
Bay of Pigs. 2012. Meg O’Neill. Digital Print. (18X13in)
One can see the play of tension in Bay of Pigs, where the focused foreground with the complementary red and green bush of flowers draws one into the frame, while the bright light reflecting off the branches reveals the threatening thorns on which the beautiful flowers grow. What was once something that attracted has now become something repulsive, pulling the viewer away from the work, as the torns threaten to harm. The forms of the branches, from the barrier of the bush, act against the suppressing nature of a barrier, guiding the eye upwards toward the out-of-focus background. Present in the background are less intense red forms that make up the word “GIRON.” In reading the word the eye becomes aware of the hexagonal shape created by a reflection of light off a lens, thus reminding that what is being presented is a photograph, which then severs connection to the space. The hexagon physically connects the delicate flowers to the missiles at the top center of the photograph. The image’s tone drastically shifts as the missiles reference a risk to life, establishing morbidity as the landscape of this abstracted reality.
Bombarded by images of mortality and decay, the work takes away naivety by displaying alluring images of threatening violence, such thorny flowers. Threatening violence, as well as the physical barriers shown within the images, forcefully disconnects one from the spaces displayed. This sever connection prevents full interaction with the space, thus separating from total connection to the image. Furthermore, the composition of the photographs often proves disorienting, either through the titled framing or the unclear subject matter. The photographs only provide enough information within the frame to contextualize the image, but not enough to provide complete understanding. These disconnects restrict the images from evoking a sense of sympathy because of a lack of understanding. Light and color, however, become important as they attract and guide the eye through the images, providing establishing connection. Color holds the interest of the viewers, allowing for the themes within the work to slowly reveal themselves as he or she spends more time with each photograph. Through photographic exposure and editing, the light within the photographs casts a tone of vibrant inviting colors which, when juxtaposed against the subject matter of mortality and entrapment, projects a dichotomous appeal. This dichotomy plays between the alluring colors and the repulsive subject matter, which brings tension to the work. In both Leave Me and Abandoned, tension pulls attention in different directions. This splitting mimics the dichotomy behind isolation to both separate one from connection, while the experience of the feeling isolation is one that is shared.
Image 13-Body Farm. 2000-2001. SALLY MANN. Digital Image
The use of mortality as a landscape presents a common theme between this thesis and Sally Mann’s photographs from her body of work entitled Body Farm. The fascination created by Mann’s use of muted contrast of black and white, and the warm pallet of oranges attracts. The subject matter, however, of the decaying bodies in different stages of decomposition into the landscape repulse. Decay’s association with time, an inevitable factor of mortality, also proves threatening, as the decaying bodies remind one of his or her own eventual fate. The splitting between attraction and repulsion mimics that of the thesis photographs’ use of warm colors and repeated forms to attract, and subject matter to repel. Sally Mann “want[s] people to have to accept the existence of beauty where they would never expect to find it…in death.” Unlike Mann’s work, the photographs in this body of work do not contain dead human bodies. Instead the photographs allude to mortality in capturing subject matter of barriers, decay, and violence. Despite these difference, the different bodies of work play between repulsion and attraction, continuing isolations struggle between connection and disconnection.
Body Farm depicts both decay, as stated above, and entrapment. Observing the dead bodies amplifies one’s own entrapment in the container of their mortal body. One associates himself or herself to the mortality of bodies, evoking empathy. However, the bodies simultaneously act as barrier, in that one viewing the work is a living being who will never completely connect with the dead until his or her own death. The frame further removes the viewer from the reality within the frame, establishing a removed vantage point to view the reflecting forms. For example, in Image 13, the angle of the body and the intensity of the light on the white pants attracts the eyes, moving them from the bottom left corner to a connecting tree. Patches of sun that are on this tree direct attention to the triangular form constructed through it and another tree. Blood red appears on a disconnected limb of an arm that guides the eye down it to its white pointing finger. Following the upward pointing direction of the finger, a rounded branch is shown in the same arching curve as the arm. The body becomes part of nature through this association of shape, and in both these forms the limbs echo to one another. The disconnecting barriers become important as the photograph reflects a connection between the dead human and nature while disconnecting the living being. This disconnection of death and nature from the living being reflects isolation; where isolation and death both disconnect one from the reality of others, while simultaneously creating connections through experiences that are a part of the human condition.
New Beginnings. 2012. Meg O’Neill. Digital Print. (18X13in)
Creating a sense of isolation through failed attempts at connection is New Beginnings’ illusions to religious hope that uses light and symbols to mislead the eye to a barrier instead of connection. Religion’s vast spread throughout humanity creates both connection and disconnection. Religion often brings people together to share in a common worship of a god, yet it also disconnects people in different religious groups. For this thesis references to religion signify a severed attempt at connection. In the bottom right corner of the image above, a sign reading “New Beginnings Church” has an arrow that points to the left, yet there is no where to turn. The arrow instead points to the only portion of a white fence bathed in sunlight. The “New Beginnings” text on the sign references a hope, which then is denied by the arrow pointing to the blocking force of the fence. Through placement, light can be seen as a holy entity that attracts the eye, but in subject matter is shinning upon the physical barrier of a fence. This failed attempt at the prospects of either starting new or finding connection to religious salvation evokes hopelessness, which in turn leads to a sense of isolation. In addition, the black of the arrow along with the direction that points, allows for the eye to catch a black skid mark upon the road, which ends in the bottom left corner in a big splatter. The splatter mark insinuates some sort of destruction that has occurred in following the direction of a sign that promises “New Beginnings.” The open road, as it ascends back into the frame, presents a choice, to follow or to stay. Yet, the misleading direction of the arrow and the threat of potential destruction create impediments to making a coherent choice. Thus, the established desire for connections as a result of isolation becomes severed.
Noose. 2012. Meg O’Neill. Digital Print. (18X13in)
The photograph Noose, which yet again uses light and form to morbidly mock hope, continues to evoke the sense of isolation from New Beginnings. The image depicts a shed of some sort with blurred green foliage behind it. A work lamp hangs in the same space in the frame as the sunlight that hit the fence in New Beginnings. In the same manner that the skid mark on the road tainted the idea of “new beginnings,” a string hangs in a warped circle from the lamp, creating what looks like a noose. The noose form subtly references a violence inflicted upon oneself as a result of isolation. The forces driving one to suicide often reflect a disconnected state of mind one feels from the rest of the world. This disconnect leads to the imposing of isolation upon oneself, denying hope for the future. Furthermore, the correspondence between light source and death becomes significant. Within New Beginnings, the natural light source leads to a man-made barrier or a spatter, whereas in Noose the man-made light source hangs a clean, destruction of oneself. In of both these photographs, light and references to light inflict a sense of isolation through a subtly violent disconnection.
Noose also continues drawing connections to the work, by having forms contained within the same geographic location within the frame. The cord hangs slightly above the left bottom frame, mimics where the light hit on the fence in New Beginnings. Additionally, this is approximately the same spot where the solo cup in Filth, the eggs in Oops, the shoes in Arrived, the steering wheel in Tangles, the mirror male in Don’t Catch Feelings and the book in Call of Duty, all are. The stringing of these objects together through special association demonstrates the way in which isolation can be a connecting experience.
Moreover, in the bottom center of the frame are what appear to be out-of-focus wooden statues leaning against a table. These statues in their leaning state reference Caged Scarecrow’s illusion to humanity, while their nature as objects disconnects them. By comparing these two statues on the ground to the hanging figure of the noose, this space becomes complacent in its own mortality, thus instilling hopelessness.
Call of Duty. 2012. Meg O’Neill. Digital Print. (18X13in)
Call of Duty connects violence and isolation by subtly presenting violence in different states of reality on TV screens, and in a photograph within a photograph. Within the image the camera is between two screens at the top and an opened photographic book at the bottom. These forms push together the top and bottom of the frame, while the white of the book and the light reflecting off the page guide the eye to the contrasting corner of the book at the center of the image. The contrast created by the white page and the black shelving allude to an abyss of space where the book appears. The black mimics the screens above, which have circular figures surrounding a brighter blue background. These rounded forms then begin to play off the other rounded forms within the frame such as the curvature of the knees, the rounding of the page, and the heads within the photograph on the page. Once this has happened, the viewer begins to read the photograph on the page, attempting to draw a connection beyond the formal elements to the thematic with the photograph and the screens. Using the rounded forms, the photograph begins to give clues that something is amiss, as the head of the man being hugged becomes warped, shifting a tender moment into one of grotesque morbidity. These round forms then lead to the understanding that the screens are displaying a rounded scope that is most likely used on guns in violent video games. These clues bring awareness to the threats of violence the two different forms of viewing are portraying together. The multiplicity of realities within a reality, all of which project a threatening violence, creates an obstruction pushing one away from the work. Despite these obstacles, the vibrant oranges and warm honeys that complement the blues attract.
Do Not Cross. 2012. Meg O’Neill. Digital Print. (18X13in)
Creating connection between Leave Me and Abandoned through their opposition are photographs such as Bay of Pigs and Do Not Cross (above). In Bay of Pigs, the foreground with its bright inviting colors is in focus, while the references to threat are blurred in the background. While Do Not Cross has an out-of-focus foreground, it uses inviting yellow colors to tempt the viewer despite the threat of danger that suggests on the “Do Not Cross Police” tape. The yellow proves important because it not only is carried out through the subsequent photographs, but also references back to the eggs and light seen in the previous photographs, imposing more caution when one thinks of the relationship between the broken eggs and the tape. The switch from focused to unfocused foreground allows for the tape to become a barrier that, unlike the roses, is distant, yet overbearingly present when viewing what is beyond it. The background, with its yellow light bathing the trees and sharp focus, pulls one to the space, seeking ways around the caution tape. The formation of the tape across the frame cuts across and up the foreground, mimicking the forms of the flowers in Bay of Pigs, pulling the eyes upwards into the shot. In addition, vertical lines parallel the frame’s edge, which in the clarity of their focus guide the eye upward towards the sky. Having the background in focus allows the eye to reach beyond the threatening boundaries, into the space beyond. Yet the tape is still present, obstructing view of what lies beyond. This relationship between focus and barriers plays with the mind’s understanding of accessibility, as well as offering a space for a new world to be created that is bound back by some threat.
Pittsburgh Project. 1955. W. Eugene Smith. Digital Scan
Through his use of form, content, and light, W. Eugene Smith creates continuous flow between his photographs taken for the Pittsburgh project, which display a perspective of the city as inherent to Smith’s experience. This thesis compares to Smith’s Pittsburgh photographs in the guiding forms, use of light, and the imposition of the photographer’s experience upon the landscape. The two different bodies of work, through the use of these techniques, evoke a sense of isolation, which is felt by the photographers, the subject matter and the viewer. Tension, created by “a struggle of light and dark, light struggling to free itself from the serpent of darkness,” propels this theme of isolation among the separate works (Trachtenberg 164). Forms fold upon one another create a path through what Smith references as the “labyrinth,” allowing for this sense of isolation to be connected throughout the body of work. Similarly, the photographs of this thesis body of work, utilize forms, such as grids, patterns, and barriers to connect each photograph across the series. These strong connections between photographs become a testament to the specific perspective that the photographer imposes upon his or her landscape. Furthermore, “drawn to tableaus and silhouettes rather than individuals, to spaces deep and shallow, fragmented into isolated parts, Smith conveys an experience of brokenness, aloneness and mutilation, a place drained of nurturing emotion, where ‘love’ and ‘dream’ are mocking street signs” (Trachtenberg 164). Smith’s photographs are similar to this body of work because the images lack the individual and portray aloneness and brokenness through contradictory signs and fragmented parts. These senses all speak to isolation which, through consistent perspective, reflect the photographers own sense of isolation.
Don’t Catch Feelings. 2012. Meg O’Neill. Digital Print. (18X13in)
The objects acting as barriers impose a disconnect between the viewer and the subject in the same way that the lens has created a barrier to time and space, carrying the theme of isolation throughout the work. Don’t Catch Feelings presents disconnection in many ways. The white mask is the first and most obvious of the barriers to be noticed. This mask references disease and the risk of contagion that is present from simply sharing the same space as the masked person. The clarity in the mask, however, invites one to observe the landscape created upon this surface by the folds and creases, which in turn attracts the eyes to the yellow bands that hold the mask to the face. The use of this yellow here again references the previous yellow objects of light, broken eggs, and caution tape. The bands now act as a physical binding of the body to an object that allows for interaction, yet restricts communication. Again, we see these dichotomous relationships between invitation and restriction, which are further mimicked by the mirror in the left corner creating a secondary image of the masked male within the frame. The mirror not only creates another state of reality, but in doing so it also splits the figure, widening the gap in connecting with the male, as he is now in 3 different planes of reality (the mirror, the space in which the photograph was taken, and the now 2-dimensional space in which the photograph is being viewed). The mirror, moreover, begins to objectify this person, as he becomes personified in different realities. The male is broken into different realities, which isolates him by disconnecting his physical being. Finally, the eyes, serving as the only visible portion of the face, are shut, thus further removing interaction and communication of the man’s feelings from the viewer, and creating the final isolation of the subject. The man becomes barrier to connecting through this isolation. The barriers created within the photographs of the work push and pull the viewer in a way that leaves him or her in an isolated, stuck in a state of in-between existence. This in turn disconnects the viewer in a way that allows for them to understand the risk is not their own, but feel empathy for the potential jeopardy of another being.
The subject matter, the people within the photographs and the fleeting moment of capturing a time all reflect isolation within this thesis body of work. Despite location, whether it be Cuba or America, solitude transcends cultures as it emanates from the flat spaces within the photograph. And so, in observing how this solitude is created by separations of different realities, as well as blockades that are put up to bound one from connection, then we can begin to break down the barriers and different worlds, like we do the photographic image, in order to emerge from this solitude with a better understanding of our we can bond ourselves to others.
Loneliness is the human condition. Cultivate it. The way it tunnels into you allows your soul room to grow. Never expect to outgrow loneliness. Never hope to find people who will understand you, someone to fill that space. And intelligent, sensitive person is the exception, the very great exception. If you expect to find people who will understand you, you will grow murderous with disappointment. The best you’ll ever do is to understand yourself, know what it is that you want, and not let the cattle stand in your way.”
― Janet Fitch, White Oleander
 Racine, Mary. PBS. PBS, 2002. Web. 10 Sept. 2012. <http://www.pbs.org/wnet/egg/301/mann/index.html>.