Born in Guelatao de Juarez, Oaxaca Mexico, Jorge Santiago is a documentary photographer currently based in Pittsburgh, PA. His work has been exhibited in Mexico City, Los Angeles, Madrid, Havana and Bratislava. He has taught workshops in...
In the first year of a baby’s life, her family’s boundaries blur. If before the mother and father were discrete entities, now they run together, and both blend with their baby’s body, with her needs. Where before life was organized into experiences, thoughts, plans, it now becomes a timeless landscape of textures and sensations. They run their baby’s hand under a cool waterfall in a creek. They trace her cherubic cheeks with leaves. They rock and sway and climb hills with her strapped to their hearts. New parenthood jolts with such intensity largely because it shatters parents’ understanding of space, time, and place. They are awake at 3:52 am and asleep at 8:17 pm. They are soothing and bathing and staring into the wishing well of a tiny face until worn hollow, utterly removed from purpose, from linearity. There is changing light, there are changing seasons: heat and cold, snow and dandelions. Then, gradually, as the baby stands up and walks, as she plays alone for ten and then twenty minutes, time gathers itself again into a line and marches forward. Space shrinks, once again directional. But in those early years the world is at once miniscule, no larger than that tiny chest and its precarious breath, and newly expansive, its every surface, every fly, every flower worth noticing.“Noble County” asks the viewer to re-enter this space of infanthood: liminal, isolated, extraordinary, mundane, grappling. It does so in the unique context of a farm in southeastern Ohio, further highlighting the sense of removal new parents experience and also the altered relationship to space and time, the new predominance of texture and substance as ways of exploring the world. The rural setting foregrounds these changes in elegant, ethereal, haunting ways, and the aesthetic of black and white film deepens the nostalgic, painful beauty of early parenthood.