YOU ARE A DUSK
Illuminating the coming darkness & honoring the night, even as you return to dawn.
photos by the brilliant Anna (Yan) Palmer, one of the first to hold our story in her hands and call it beautiful
from the river in
We created a new family and with that chose to create a new last name: Vail.
In Old France, it signified one who resided near “the river in the valley.” From the river in the valley comes new life. It blooms from sorrow and pain, and it grows knowing full well the violent, delicate dance of joy and grief. For in the valley, light is obscured and we can only trust that the water which sustains us will continue moving through the night. Down in the valley, we believe the words, “though much is taken, much abides.” [Alfred Tennyson] Between this world and the next lies a veil that, in rare moments, stretches thin, revealing that which lives just out of sight. These “thin veil” moments are ones of glory, of revelation. Moments marked by a quick intake of breath and the heart hurling forward. Moments that take us out of time and into stillness. The veil reminds us that the physical world is not the only one we experience; there is an invisible world of spirit hanging just above.
filmmaker + writer
I have always been fascinated by cinema and picked up a camera for the first time at age twelve. In 2014 I graduated with a degree in Psychology and have since used filmmaking as a way to explore the things and people around me. I’m deeply inspired by Terrence Malick’s films and the writings of Jeanette Winterson, Anne Carson, and Virginia Woolf. My wife Kadi is the ever-grounding emotional balance to my more cerebral leanings, and I’m so much better for it.
Art is the language by which I understand the world. It’s the language of memory, of mystery, of beauty, of love. It deepens experience, gives a sense of something beyond, can put us in touch with the divine in a way nothing else can. I want to create that experience for other people, and the few times I think I have, have been the most rewarding in my life.
I have been a professional photographer for ten years, and I recently trained as a birth worker and am serving the Greater Minneapolis & St. Paul area as a doula. After photographing dozens of births, I felt called to take a more involved role in supporting women during labor and postpartum. Laura and I are licensed foster parents and have loved five children in our home since 2017. Advocating for our foster loves is a devastating, maddening, enormous responsibility, but it’s the most important thing we’ve ever known.
I believe that from the dark, confusing places in our lives emerge moments of peace, light, and transcendence. Throughout the past few years I’ve come to learn the intricate paradox of grief and joy and how to be okay with these two opposites sitting together. And I have learned, I am learning, to live expectantly, with open hands, and to always reach for the life I want.
vail communicates THE
simultaneous heaviness and lightness of existence.
We are a visual art collective for humans, by humans. Together, we create emotionally deep imagery that embodies life’s paradoxes—grief and joy, love and loss. Inspired by documentary styles that still make aesthetic a priority, the work we make communicates something about humans, how we relate to each other, and the inherently opaque, strange world around us. We want to document people in a way that shares the untold parts of their stories and empowers them. We recognize that people of color and those in the LGBTQ community (especially trans and non-binary folks) are often underrepresented in photography. You, your love, your families, and your stories are important to us.