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James Collier

Photographer, based in New Orleans. Lover of tacos, pirogues and awkward conversations about masculinity. Friends call me Road Biscuit.

http://jamescollier.me/

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Since middle school, I’ve associated vascularity with strength. Every action hero and athlete I grew up watching had pronounced, textured arms and hands, but I just had a lot of chub, and I connected that directly to my lack of strength. When I hit a growth spurt and started working out in high school, I measured success based less on muscle and size, and more on the lines I could trace with my fingers. Last year, the evening after my first chemo infusion, I went for a run. I thought I could bulldoze my way through treatment, and wanted to keep my regimen up for strength (and sanity). For a brief moment, I felt close to invincible, and as a mix of chemicals pulsed through swollen veins, I took a photo. Just a few weeks later, any prominent lines running down my forearm would fade from sight, sclerosed and hardened like steel cables under my skin, constricting tighter as the temperature dropped. No one warned me about that, but my docs weren’t surprised when I reported it. These memories still come flooding back every few months, as I offer the top of my hand for a blood draw, or for the IV contrast used to scan the depths of my abdomen and chest. It’s mostly an annoying pain, yet a consistent reminder of how a treatment like chemo can alter the body indefinitely. We have no choice but to trust that it’s doing far more good than bad. Tiny veins have started to grow in over the last several months; I can’t feel them, but I can see them in the palest stretches of skin. I’m grateful for this resurgence of life, but my body still feels unfamiliar at times, and that’s a difficult thing to process, let alone try and describe. I try to be accepting of myself, but grace is so much easier to offer to others. #wordsweuse #cancerseason

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HOLY SHIT I DIDN’T THINK I’D CATCH ANYTHING WHAT AM I GONNA DO WITH IT?!

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Still picking off ticks, and pulling red bugs from between my toes, but all part of the adventure...right? I’m back on the hunt for pawpaws, this time helping @blaise_damnit forage seeds for his greenhouse. It’s such an odd fruit—unexplainably tropical for a tree with a natural range all the way from here in south Louisiana, up through the northern reaches of the Ohio River Valley. The lore and history surrounding it are fascinating, and connect those who’ve tasted it to a history that’s all but lost. Have you tried it? #pawpaw #hillbillymango

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Shut up, guys—I’ve never made pizza before. I swear they got prettier as the night went on, but…well there was a lot more beer flowing then. #pizza #friends #omgihaveabackyardagain

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It took five years of friendship, but I finally got @varicchiuti to cook me dinner—with a little guidance from @jimmypardini. Nicely done, fellas. #enzooliveoil #milltotable

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“I scream...” “No.” “You scream..” “Nope.” “We all...” “Shut up, James.”

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So I was sitting at a table next to this bar, just working on my laptop, when a woman turns to make small talk, then compliments me on my carrot and chili tattoos. Then her friend sees that I’m wearing avocado socks, and enthusiastically proclaims, “You’re like a man salad.” Anyway, that’s about as close as I’ve come to vegetables since moving back down South, so I’m headed to California for the week—staying a little longer this trip to try and catch up with friends, and eat vegetables…unless you wanna grab tacos?

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Daily downpour.

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Sugar cane, south Louisiana (2015) #woven #wovenwednesday #sweettooth

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I thought California had ruined me for stone fruit, but there’s this van on the side of the road in St. Bernard Parish that sells peaches from Alabama; you can smell them before you get out of the car, hot from the summer sun. They bleed down your chin when you bite in to the flesh, tracing the creases that deepen as you smile, and for just a moment, they help you forget that your sweat is almost boiling, and your ankles are covered in mosquitoes. #peachaday #homeiswherethepeachis

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Spent the weekend catching up with the Neris and getting yelled at by a 1 1/2 year-old. Thanks for the tacos and birth control, friends! ❤️ #tacosandbirthcontrol

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Louisiana Catfish Festival, Des Allemands. More pics in the stories. #justcallmewhiskers #electricslide #catfishfestival #maga #everydayruralamerica

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Gone fishin’

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Home.

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In between NYC and NOLA. #everydayruralamerica #theprintswap

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Brooklyn! I’m back to finish packing, and would love to say as many goodbyes as possible. If you’re staying in town for the holiday weekend, swing by the apt/studio sometime tomorrow or Monday. Or come over on Wednesday. Just give me a heads up beforehand, so I know you’re coming. I promise not to ask you to help me pack, or to move any boxes.

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Havenʼt had a chance to say many goodbyes, which seems fitting, as Iʼll likely see friends here more often as a visitor than I have as a resident. So instead, Iʼll keep focus on gratitude. Thanks to everyone whoʼs been a part of these last four and a half years in NYC. To those whoʼve encouraged me, challenged me, cooked with me, worked with (and hired me), and lamented this cityʼs shortage of edible tacos with me. And thanks being everything I needed you to be, NYC. For stripping me down, and building me back up. And for preparing me for this next chapter. Blah, blah, blah. See you soon, New Orleans! #southernbybirth #andnowchoice

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