(Note: due to some technical problems which I do not fully understand the blog has been down for some time. I am told it is fixed so posts will come along fairly rapidly for the next several.)

Back in March I made a new series of pictures from Shirley, MA that are now up on the site: Here.

I'm going to break down the short series on the blog and invite you to come along. I will also reference some earlier works and provide links to those as well. While there are many similarities between this new work and older series from the 80s and 90s there are significant differences as well.

First, a little context. These were made in the late morning on a trip driving locally, close to where I live in Acton, MA. Clearly an "end of winter" day with filtered sun, snow melting in piles, and the temp in the 40s.

As so often happens, the first frame landed like a hint, with the possibility of more to come as I looked to my right. The series ended up being linear as I walked and shot from left to right. I progressed along a lane, with the railroad tracks at my back, sliding along, photographing. In post I made the decision to desaturate the colors, wanting the pictures to reside somewhere between black and white and color. 

Here, the first house, one of three we'll see in the series. Standing there, consciously linking this to the first frame with the barn now in the background. Sometimes, not always by any means, there is a combination of things that work. In this case the light (bright but also flat), the scale (the relationship of where the content is and where I am), and the subject itself (I have often thought about this last one: something gets me about a certain New England architectural period or era).

A couple of examples

Lebanon, NH 1997-1990 (here on site)

Summerhill, Atlanta, Georgia 1999 ( here on site)

We'll look at two more from Shirley, then close this post out. First, the third frame and crucial to the overall series.

We've now moved in and are looking at the left of the same house in closer detail.  As we look throughout the porch and the clutter there is an inscription on the large rock. It says, in part:

                        Daddy gave life to Mama's dream

Now we are into something completely different, understanding something about the building of this house and the family that lives there. For me, the pictures take on a certain significance, a weight and I feel let into something quite personal.

Last in this post, the second more detailed photograph of the house to the right of the porch:

Looking quieter, less used. Perhaps a place to get away from the more chaotic and frenetic activity of the previous frame, which looks like it is the main entrance into the home. These two pictures above are so very contained, no sky, no way out. Beautiful the way the support columns on the right pull back and then turn right. Of note, we have now left the barn behind. Clearly, we are moving on and will now leave this house and its close family behind.

This is also where we'll stop this post, leaving a few more for the next one. If there are chapters here we're about to start Chapter 2. I hope you can come along.

Topics: Series

Permalink | Posted June 3, 2023