La Nonna’s name was Jone Corti then. Jo-ne. It slid off the tongue like a berry gelato. It
was strange to burden a young Italian girl with a Greek name, especially one that referred so specifically to Ionia and the adjacent sea. It annoyed me when her biddy friends mispronounced it, suffering the harsh J instead of the more lithe Y. p>
Some aspects of life really are the same, regardless of geography. My hairdresser’s shop feels like the Albanian version of Steel Magnolias, with women dropping in and back out again, mostly just stopping to chat or help themselves to my hairdresser’s tools and beauty supplies.
The Brotherhood of the Blood (la Confrérie de la Sanch) is a religious and charitable organization that has existed in Perpignan since 1416. Its founding mission was to commemorate the Passion of Christ, which is the short, final period of the life of Jesus Christ; to assist prisoners who had been condemned to death; and to preach penance and help sinners prepare for their final judgement and salvation. As part of this mission, members of the brotherhood, known as penitents, would accompany prisoners condemned to death on their final walk through the city to the scaffold.
There’s a place in the popular American imagination called Main Street—a Norman Rockwell scene where the butcher, baker, and barber all hang out their signs and sweep their stoops, where emerald baseball fields are immaculately groomed, and where the town gathers on a Friday night to cheer the high school football team to victory. If this vision of the idyllic Main Street America is flawed, it’s because it’s based on a nostalgic vision of the past that rings dissonant when compared to the reality that many Americans face today, especially amidst a global pandemic: a shrinking economy, a housing crisis, outdated infrastructure, and political division.
I gave my heart and soul to Spain, but not just to the country—rather, I gave them to Valencia. The name itself swells something in me that to this day I cannot adequately define with words. Pronouncing it evokes a sort of ache, as though I’ve both held and lost this eastern swath of Spain. Like the undulating minor keys of flamenco music, the name Valencia calls out a history that was never really mine, and yet is so deeply a part of my childhood that I cannot separate myself from it.
For a long time, I worked somewhere different each day. I spent long hours on the subway, commuting from location to location. Collecting one lonely descent after the other, hours spent zoning in and out of the rhythmic haul of the trains, I started to feel like I occupied two worlds, spending half my time in the one belowground. Finding myself stuck in this closed circuit of city gears, I had nothing else to do but notice the strange aesthetics of this underworld. .
A real life scene has been turned miniature through the magic of photography. This miniaturized scene inspired a tiny fictional tale that invites you to discover the other stories hiding in this image. We invite you to explore the world with us, letting your imagination play along as you do. The world can always use more play.