Finding Peace


The average man spends 6,982 hours (roughly nine-and-a-half months) on the toilet in their lifetime.  Many view it as an unfortunate everyday necessity. For others, it’s also the only peaceful, quiet moment they have during the day. Finding Peace started as a mere curiosity, after happening upon the image of a graffiti-covered stall in an abandoned rest-stop. Initially I conceived the series to explore the varying locations and conditions in which I find myself using such public facilities. From there it grew.

I downloaded a map of Texas and superimposed the number of hours spent on the toilet, over the map, scaling them till they fit horizontally, west-to-east on the map. The four digits stretched from Odessa, to Tyler and nearly as far south as Houston. What emerged was a series of twenty-four distinct locations that formed the digits, the locations I where I would take portraits. After more than two thousand miles, and fifty hours on the road, Finding Peace began to take shape.

I am an introvert and there are times when the outside world becomes too much to handle. When it does, there are very few public places to turn to that offer even a brief moment of solitude. The privacy of a restroom is one. Yet being a bit of a germaphobe, public restrooms are a nightmare to me. I’ve only sat on a public toilet once in the past ten years. That fear influences the actions I take even today. Finding Peace pushed me to examine what it meant to face your fears. Shooting this series forced me to move out of my comfort-zone and confront my fears while simultaneously exploring a sanctuary in which to collect my thoughts.

  • Matt Vanderpool