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Saudade is a quintessential Portuguese word that has no exact equivalent in any other language. Its simplest translation is “missing,” but it’s much deeper than that. Saudade is a sense of yearning that can never be fulfilled, as for a lost loved one, or a missed opportunity viewed with regret. It is a palpable sense of absence that seems to have its own kind of presence. Saudade is a bittersweet feeling--a profound sense of nostalgia rather than despair. My father passed away when I was 15 years old. Before he died he wanted to emigrate to Portugal to write a novel. He never got there to fulfill his wish. Many years later I went to Portugal to photograph the story that has never been written. The photographs from the Saudade project capture an ethereal feeling of longing counteracted by a sense of solidity. My journey to Portugal filled a void. While the loss of my father and my quest to resolve his unrealized wish are highly personal, they are also universal. These photographs are about finding the poetry in that space, and writing a different ending to a familiar story.

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