Questions Nobody Asked Me

Peyton Keeler-Cox

ALL OF HIM: Photograph of archives layed out on the floor

Questions Nobody Asked Me was a statement pulled from my last conversation with Roy Burkett before he died. I was the last person to see him alive.

I was just the girl who had lived across the street from him since I was seven. I never thought that our silent waves and kind hellos as I grew up would lead me to spend afternoons in his living room, recounting his memories and life, and steer me to sitting in his hospital room holding his hand before he died.

We received a notice after he had passed that he had left everything to my family.

I have documented Roy’s home now for the past four years. From when he was alive, and his home lay untouched from his presence, to when he was sick, and dust collected the spaces until he passed and his house began to be a boxed graveyard of his belongings, to last when it was completely bare and silent of life. I knew I needed to grieve his passing and do it in a place that would acknowledge his memory and our kind relationship.

A couple of weeks before I began shooting this project, I talked about Roy with my mum. I was nervous about how to do him and our relationship justice in how it stands today, with him gone and myself left as the caregiver to his story. On the second day of photographing his home, one large yellow flower peeked in the window. The only blooming flower on his property. Roy and his wife Olivia planted yellow flowers all around the home. Something we always talked about and something that meant everything to him after she passed. Growing up, I always considered Roy, the man behind the yellow flowers. On this particular day, one peered from the window, looking in. I took it as a sign that he was there with me and I should continue this project.

Questions Nobody Asked Me is a body of images that connects to themes of memory, loss, grief, care, and relationship. Roy’s home, where the body of work takes place, is the central environment and heart of my relationship with Roy. It was the last living entity I had left of him and our relationship. I wanted to bring back his memory into the bare space and insert my presents as the now caregiver to his remembrance and story as someone who cares, loves, and admires all the things that were said, shared, and understood.

When he was alive, I never had the opportunity to thank him for letting me into his home and for trusting his legacy and story with me.

This is for him and with him.

HER SEWING ROOM: Self Portrait of me standing in Roy's wife's swing room
REMOVED: Photograph of bare and open living room with reflection
CARE NOW: Hands grabbing newspaper
SOFT: Image of three animal figures
ROY BURKETT: Photo booth images of young Roy Burkett
WARM 1/3: Image of two beds, one not tucked over
COLD 2/3: Image of two bed, one striped open
SPARE: Self Portrait of myself looking out basement window
Peyton Keeler-Cox

Peyton Keeler-Cox

Peyton Keeler-Cox is a Toronto based documentary photographer and storyteller. Captivated by documenting the human condition and experience through uncovering themes of memory, grief, space, and relationships. Peyton is currently completing her BFA in Image Arts at Toronto Metropolitan University. Her practice stems from investigating and activating the archive and seeking truth and understanding in the world and people around her. She is driven in being a vessel for others and exposing the deeper complexities in the feelings and relationships we each have.