James Forde

Freelance Photographer
Ode to the family
Location: London, United Kingdom
Nationality: Irish
Biography: James is an Irish freelance photographer based in Dublin, Ireland. For several years, he documented social issues in Latin America. His work is focused on long term documentary projects investigating under-reported socio-political issues. In 2017,... MORE
Public Story
Ode to the family
Copyright James Forde 2023
Date of Work Oct 2016 - Ongoing
Updated May 2020
Topics Black and White, Children, Community, Documentary, Emotion, Essays, Family, Film Stills, Forest, Friends + Family, Lifestyle, Parenting & Family, Photography, Relationships
The air was crisp and the night was clear when Tyler Margason pulled up on the corner in North San Juan that night, nothing more than a dot on the map in Northern California. A small town that still reflects the great era of the gold rush and the birth of Wells Fargo. A saloon-style bar called The Brass Rail sits on top of the hill proudly as it's the only watering hole in town.It was not but several hundred meters from here where I found myself hitchhiking. I had gotten a lift earlier from the boss of the farm where I worked in order to check some e-mails, make some phone calls and satisfy my insatiable appetite for keeping up with our constant news cycle. I drank two frothy glasses of Sierra Nevada as I tended to my errands, and then left the bar, walked past the drunk meth heads and the gas station until I reached the post office at the corner of the crossroads. Here, I put my thumb out and waited patiently for a lift.

Not long afterward, a 1980's beige Mercedes pulled up on the opposite side of the crossroads. I ran over to the driver to inform him that I was heading in the opposite direction but he told me not to worry, that he would bring me anyway. Normally, this would send alarm bells ringing for many hitchhikers but I took a quick look at the back seat and saw three children sound asleep so I decided against my better judgment and trusted him. He ripped the old beast into reverse and spun around and headed in the right direction. I assured him that I only needed to go 10-15 miles down the road and 2 of those were off-road, down at the farm that I was working at. He seemed un-phased, as were most of the locals because they were well accustomed to the influx of "Trimigrants"(immigrants that travel to Northern California to work on Weed farms) during the season. He asked me my name and then we quickly moved on from the formalities. He pulled out a flyer for his upcoming Halloween party and proceeded to invite me and all my friends and work colleagues. The flyer depicted a scantily clad, attractive looking, demonic like lady who was advertising The Haunted House Bash of 2016. I said I would speak to my friends and see if I could convince them. We arrived at my destination not long afterward and he told me to hang on as he jumped out of the car, I followed curiously and watched as he produced a brown paper bag of fresh peaches and pomegranates which he handed to me. I thanked him profusely, we hugged and said our goodbyes and I walked into the darkness.

A week later on Halloween night, I found myself and several other friends in Brownsville, inside a wooden shed covered with black bin bags, hay on the ground, and a DJ booth made out of the front bumper of a car. This is where I met the rest of the Margason Clan. (Oct 2016-Jun 2018)
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Ode to the family by James Forde
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