By Lex Newman
25 Oct 2010
I have known my friend Ross since we were in the third grade together. We used to sit on the swings at recess and talk about nothing and everything.
He was one of those kids who was really nice to you if he liked you, but if he didn't like you, or if you were mean to him, he was a very violent and volatile person. He got into plenty of fights in elementary school.
His family was pretty dysfunctional. They struggled and fought but held it together. His older brother, Cameron, got into drugs very early on, as did Ross. Cameron was also one of those kids who was really nice if you knew him, but a jackass if you didn't.
Ross was kicked out of the middle school both for fighting and drug possession and ended up going to a continuation middle school. He came back to the regular high school and was again kicked out for fighting his sophomore year, and went back to the continuation school. He was successful there. By that time, his older brother had dropped out of high school, left home and became involved in heavier drug use. The family dealt with it, which their friends found amazing. But in 2006, his older brother was driving home from a girlfriend's house when his car crashed into the side of the hill he was on. He died on impact at the age of 17.
Not long after Cameron's death, it came to light that Ross's father was having an affair. His parents split, and Ross was in the middle. Now he lives some of the time with his dad and some of the time with his mom and some of the time he crashes on friend's couches.
He and I have kept in contact all this time, though sometimes we went years without talking. He's doing much better now than in the past.
Recently, we did a shoot together. Mostly it was for an assignment for my photography class, but it was also because we hadn't seen each other in a while. I took a bunch of normal photos of him, and then we did a Lord of the Flies themed shoot for fun, since we're both fans of the book.
I've included a film photo I took in 2005, Ross's freshman year, my sophomore year, showing the difference between him then and now.