Monday, July 02, 2007

Kansas, 2006

I have now been on the road for exactly three weeks. I’ve been down back roads, over mountain tops, big cities, small remote communities, all the way from central Massachusetts to San Francisco. I think it was back in 1973 that I began to make what I’ve called social landscape images. These are images of things, signs, and symbols of how people have interacted with the landscape. Elusive and transitory, what I look for is not hidden, but seldom noticed. When this series of image was begun, there were numerous older structures in various states of decay that offered a rich mining of images. It is with some sadness and disappointment that I’m coming to the realization that what I like to photograph just doesn’t exist with the same frequency as it use to. Taking a rational thought path, it HAS been 35 years, and I coming to believe that an era has passed. It’s not that there aren’t things decaying, but that there aren’t really old things in states of decay that make them interesting. 99.9% of them have literally fallen down, been torn down, plowed under, hauled away, rusted into oblivion – disappeared. It isn’t that things are not still being discarded and allowed to fall into decay, it’s just that the era of the kind of stuff I like is over and gone. And good images are fewer and further between. Is it me, or has the world changed? Have I run out of subject matter? Am I at a standstill? Gagliani once said to me that a photographer/artist will work for a number of years until he/she finds their voice. And then they will produce a body of work that is their own, but at some point they will start repeating themselves. It’s at that point that they have to either change and find a new voice, or give it all up. I wonder at times, am I at that cross roads? How do you know when you reach that point? I only know that the passion to make photographs is still there, and that I still enjoy being on the road. The image above of the old style grain elevator that use to dot the plains states are all but gone now replaced with massive new and much larger capacity concrete structures. It is rare to find one in use.

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