Day two of teaching at Penland is actually our first full day of classes. The author Christopher Benfey and I are co-teaching a class called Word/Image. This morning we sent students out to write about an object they liked. "Description" and to "keep it simple" were the goals. Chris read us a few paragraphs from James Agee's "Let us now Praise Famous Men" and I told a story about how Aaron Siskind, as one of my teachers, told me to, you guessed it, "keep it simple". After an hour or so they came back in and read what they wrote. This afternoon they will then photograph the same object under the same guidelines. This is a great group, enthusiastic and hugely motived and we have made a strong start.
I was down in Spruce Pine again this morning, working off an area I'd photographed two years ago but with a new awareness of inherent possibilities in a part of town struggling for survival and trying to present itself as prosperous in tough times.
The town sits up against a hill and there are several plots of land that are now parking lots where buildings used to be. Hard to appear prosperous with empty lots right down town.
Clarity of intent or enigmatic? Specific or ambivalent? Intentional or indecisive?
Penland Three 2014.