Jason Houge

2015 - 2018

United States

This autobiographical project has been nearly five years in the making and is on-going. My intent is to come to terms with and acknowledge the hidden scars of my past. Childhood was not accompanied by the usual troubles of youth. I was born to a poor Catholic family that never seemed to settle for very long. The first of many nomadic changes happened shortly after my birth when my parents moved from Oregon to Wisconsin. By the second grade, I had already attended nearly every elementary school in Green Bay, Wisconsin. As I approached the period where most boys are beginning their coming of age, I was shuffled between divorced parents and ultimately send away to live in a variety of institutions, shelters and a group home. This experience resulted in the effective loss of nearly four years of life, education and development to violence, gang influence, doctors, stiff beds, and medication. This pattern continued all throughout high school and only came to an end when I was finally old enough to set out on my own. During the two decades since, I found myself mirroring my parents by struggling with poverty and living a semi-nomadic life. All the while trying to rediscover what it is to feel, be a friend and a human being. My “rebirth” has relied heavily on an inner spirituality, close friends, mentors, education and forgiveness. While the accompanying work hints at this past and also gives insight into the current evolution of life as I know it. Through observing those closest to me, my chosen family, not only do my subjects help tell my story but also share their own personal triumphs and traumas, feelings of solitude and depression, and kinship.

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  • Kayla and her mother, Lisa, wait for me to release the turtle. Marinette, WI 2015

  • The site of the now demolished hospital I lived in. Green Bay, WI 2015

  • Bedtime story with Kayla. Green Bay, WI 2015

  • Justin stayed with us for a few weeks after he left the hospital. New Franken, WI 2016

  • One of many late nights at the laundromat. Green Bay, 2015

  • Kayla and I visiting Justin at the hospital two days after he was hit by a car. Green Bay, WI 2015

  • Taking Justin to see his doctor. Ashwaubenon, WI 2016

  • The cold November night we found ourselves stranded until the end of the year. Green Bay, WI 2015

  • One of Kayla's frequent headaches. Green Bay, WI 2015

  • Kayla on Wednesday Morning. New Franken, WI 2015

  • Thifty Last Supper. Green Bay, WI 2015

  • Having coffee with Kayla. Green Bay, WI 2016

  • Christmas breakfast with my stepdad, Pete, and his fiance, Lana and Kayla. Green Bay, WI 2015

  • Evening drive with Justin and Kayla. Green Bay, WI 2016

  • A man prays at the chapel where the Virgin Mary appeared in 1859. Champion, WI 2016

  • Bathtub Madonna, Kayla. New Franken, WI 2016

    • Explicit Content
  • Kayla and her mother's Hello Kitty. Marinette, WI 2015

  • The first blizzard of the winter. New Franken, WI 2015