Have you looked at his site yet?

Here’s a sampling of Simon Norfolk‘s work.

I’m inspired by the other-world-ness of the photographs. They seem like altered landscapes; digital dreams-come-true. But these are images from the Real World. Afghanistan, Baghdad, Bosnia, Liberia, Israel. This is war photography gone pastoral. The images are powerful because of their beauty.


New Jersey

1972 – 79 Wall Street, West Long Branch, New Jersey

This was my mom’s favorite post. Mine too, but for different reasons. She played golf and tennis nearly every day and made a lot of good friends she would keep in touch with over the next twenty years. I would walk to the pier in Long Branch and play in the arcades and walk along the boardwalk. There was a special electricity in the air, felt only by adolescents: the hum and crackle of freedom against the backdrop of salt spray and the distant screams of self abandon from the carney rides on the boardwalk. We would hitch down Ocean Avenue and go to The Stone Pony in Asbury Park. We’d step out onto the jetty and drink our wine and talk into the night. We saw every rock and blues band that came through Convention Hall. We walked the boards and dropped in on Madame Marie, ate frozen custard and cotton candy. Sometimes I’d take my little sister and we’d ride the rides, me holding her hand while she opened her mouth wide and howled into the night.


1978 – 3240 Ramsey Circle Orlando, Florida

This was our last stop – Orlando, Florida. I would work at Disney World for a summer and my dad would retire from the military and move north to Virginia to start a career as a defense contractor. I remember the heat and the bugs. Disney World was corporate; every move we made was monitored and controlled from the jewelry we wore to where we walked in the building. I worked in the restaurant underneath the monorail and one evening one of my colleagues was fired for eating a dessert mint.
It was so hot. We’d move from the air-conditioned house to the air-conditioned car to the air-conditioned workplace. We never walked outside. Once I went to Daytona Beach with some girls from work and they wouldn’t go in the water because they didn’t want to get their hair wet.


1966 – Jamestown Road, Fayetteville, North Carolina

Google wasn’t exact on this street address, but this is the house; I’m sure of it. I remember the long driveway and where I was standing when my father got out of the black military car that brought him home after a year in Vietnam. This is the only house on the street with the driveway on the right; it has to be the one. I remember the big front yard. When I came home from school one day devastated because I couldn’t jump high or broad for the president’s fitness award my dad built a series of 7 jumps -they could be raised or lowered, on pegs- and arranged them around the yard to create a course for me. Not only did I learn to jump high and far but my front yard became the neighborhood destination for all the kids.
There was a pine forest in the backyard with a carpet of fragrant needles so thick they would spring when you stepped on them. You could lift them from underneath and make little pine-needle igloos to hide out in. My next door neighbor was a nice lady who would invite me over to play in her garden; it was dense and colorful and buzzing with hummingbirds.
This was the last house of my absolute youth. After this we would move to the DC area and my interests would move indoors.


1963 – 927 Grand Avenue, Everett, Washington

I like to say I’m from Everett, Washington, though I only lived there for one full year. That was when I was six to seven: the second half of first grade through the first half of second grade, long enough to make my first communion in my mom’s hometown. Our next post would be Omaha, Nebraska, and, after that Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Once we moved east that was it – we lived in almost every state on the east coast for the remainder of our military life, and, ironically, that’s when Everett became the dominant home place.

Each year, the day school was over, my mom and I would pack up the blue suitcases with a snap!, load the car and drive across the country to spend the summer in Everett. Our base would be my grandmother’s house, a duplex at the foot of the long hill that ran up to the country club. After a brief visit with grandmother to drop off the luggage and establish base camp, mom and I would hop from one beach house to the next, to Lake Washington and several of the San Juans, visiting her sorority sisters from “U Dub”. They all had lots of children, and each had one my age. These 7 girls became my “best friends” – the only constant people in my life at that time. These summers formed the roots that would ground my childhood; the places we lived in between the summers were transitory and temporary in comparison.

Cabin Fever sends me on a virtual trip

Ladd Air Force Base, near Fairbanks, Alaska

I can see from the aerial photograph I swiped from Google Earth that the configuration of the barracks matches a photograph I remember seeing in my parents slide collection. My parents are in the street with our friends the Hannons, who had seven children. My mom, pregnant with me, is wearing a plaid maternity smock and very pointy, dark sunglasses. She turns to the camera and smiles, her mouth painted with the bright red lipstick she always wore. My dad must have taken the picture; some of the Hannon kids are playing in the background, their parents mugging for the camera. They would remain our closest friends throughout our military life, and after – right up until the day my father died, fourteen years ago today.