Friday, July 27, 2007

Home, arriving late around 11 p.m. last night. Tired, drove all the way from Sturgis, MI straight through to WeBo. Depressed, not seriously, but more because of some disappointment with the trip.

I like being home. I like being with Ellen. I like cooking her supper. I like her telling me about her day. But being home means I have other responsibilities other than things photographic. Like the Dawg. I like my Dawg, and it was evident last evening in the way she greeted me. First a sniff, then a little dance, then just plan bonkers. Normally her greeting would last for a minute of so, but she went on for about 10 minutes before she began to settle down -- it wasn't until I sat on the couch where she could “cuddle” beside me with soft moans, whimpers, and a sort of internal growl sound she makes when contented.

We had a house guest last evening – our brother-in-law, ex-preacher, formally of Scarsdale, NY. Ex-preacher because his is now retired. And by all indications (mainly because he says so) happy to be at that stage of his life. He was just passing through and resting a night with us. I talked briefly with him and “margarite” last evening trying to unwind and stop the road vibrations. Good to see him. Talked a little more during breakfast this morning. Yea! I COOKED what I ate for the first time since June 11th. Nothing fancy, just bacon and eggs.

Most of the images I made on B&W film were also shot in digital color. That way I could post daily what I saw and did. The reason for this blog: it was a way for me to keep up with myself, of enforcing order, making me keep up with what I was doing. Yeah, vain in some respects, but not at the heart of it. I had a plan and I pretty well stuck to it. The blog was also so my family and several close friends could stay in contact. I know that Ellen and Libbie read the blog daily, as did several others. My friend, Billie, wrote and told me I had been mentioned on another widely read blog, and probably got some hits because of that. I don't have a counter on the site, but I guess I could have added one. But like I said the blog was primarily for me, I didn't really care how many people were going to the site everyday. Mostly I didn't have to keep fielding the question: Where are you? And while we still talked on the phone, it was easier to show images on the blog rather than do verbal visual descriptions. Afterall, I was making photographs, it's what I do.

I have made the decision to not hole-up in the darkroom processing film for the next week or so. I haven't made a count, but guessing around 40-50 rolls of 120 and about 60 4x5 film holders shot. Generally there will be 2-3 separate images on each roll of film....a bracket series of 3-4 frames. I have much to do about the house, and then get ready for the start of the semester at Clark. August 27th is first day of classes. I might even wait until classes get rolling before I start processing film. I'm in no hurry. I know what I shot and where.

The is trip has made very clear that the sort of subject matter in which I'm interested – beyond the cemetery gates – is rapidly disappearing from the landscape. I suppose the genre of subject matter is still there but not in the same form. Maybe I'm just not sensitized to it, yet. Also, for much of the trip I was working in an area of the country where I have never worked before. I'm more in tune with the southwest and the lower plains states. As I wrote before, I started photographing the “social landscape” more than 40 years ago. Much of what I looked for in those days has either melted back into the earth or turned to dust. And there is a vague visual feeling that much gentrification has taken place which is a natural progression Most social cultures like things tidy and neat. There is good evidence of that fact by the large, trim, well-watered, green lawns I saw even in the most remote locations. It's just plain weird to be see a house with a bright green manicured lawn surrounded by desert. Or high up in the mountains, summer homes (many only used 2-3 weeks a year) have kept lawns. What does that say about us as a people?

Don't know that I learned a lot on this trip, nor did I expect, or set-out to seek wisdom. But I did enjoy being in the middle of nowhere, and the absence of people. I'm not a people hater, but I just don't enjoy being mauled by humanity with every turn of the steering wheel, or every step I take on the street. It wasn't until I drove through the Wisconsin Dells area and on into the Chicago burbs, that I remembered why I like living in WeBo and central Massachusetts. There's not a lot of folks around these parts. You have to go 25-miles east of here for mass humanity. Worcester, at about 175K people, is the second largest city in New England (Providence and Worcester switch off claiming that title every few years depending on who's counting), but has a small town feel. And WeBo at times feels down right rural. Good to be home.

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