On a trip to Cambodia, my wife and I went to the field where the Khmer Rouge buried most of their victims. The ground there was saturated with the bones of those who’d died. What made a greater impression on me, though, was the fragments of cloth also embedded in the dirt – the clothing the victims had been wearing when they died.

Returning to the United States I resumed photographing along the river near my home, part of a different series. As I did this, I became more interested in the human artifacts emerging from the mud. What impressed me most was how oddly intimate many of the things were. So much of what had been left behind were things people don’t part with easily. Glasses, shoes, even undergarments had been washed up or discarded. I found that these mundane objects created the same sense feeling of nostalgia and loss that I experienced in Cambodia, of knowing someone had existed only through what they’d left behind.