(wall light at the Mansion House Hotel)
Don't know what this post is about? Suggest you read Delivered 1 first.
As the morning light increased and I walked around the town I began to feel some old muscles coming back to life. "I wonder that this will look like? What if I put this up against this? Include this in the frame or not? Move in or out? Darker, lighter, more DOF, faster shutter?" All those decisions to make, ingrained in my make-up over so many years being a photographer starting to surface after so long dormant.
At the end of the long interview with Linsey Lee at the Museum for an oral history I found myself saying that I felt we were at the very edge of things getting better. We had voted out the most terrible of presidents in our lifetimes, democracy had survived a real test January 6 when the capital was breached, and, although the stats are truly horrible with 410,000 dead from COVID 19, I believe Biden will work hard to get us back on track with the vaccine as quickly as possible.
Are we just now starting to see the end of this nightmare we've been living in? Is this the very beginning of the end? Yes, I believe it may just be.
The show installed
My daughter Maru and I delivered the ABOVE show to the Martha's Vineyard Museum on the 19th and were put up in the Mansion House Hotel nearby that night. The next day (Joe Biden's inauguration day) we were back at the Museum at 9 as they had scheduled an interview and video session for me to answer questions for an oral history. 2 hours later we were in line for the ferry back off the island, the idea being the less exposure and the less contact the better. We were away 24 hours.
Although Martha's Vineyard is where my family summer home is, this was a treat of unimaginable proportions. Spending time with Maru, being someplace different, seeing my work coming to life, sleeping in a different bed, being OUT. I pledge not take travel for granted ever again.
I got out at dawn the 20th to walk with a camera before my interview. No big deal, but to see, to exercise that visual part of my psyche was wonderful.
From the hotel's roof deck at dawn
and walking around Vineyard Haven
I'll put up a few more in Delivery 2 next.
I am told the show is up and will be viewable tomorrow, January 22. The Museum is open, with attendance restricted. I advise calling ahead: 508-627-4441.
Note to all those who have worked on this show and sought to bring it to view at the Museum. You are fantastic and I am very grateful. What an honor to have my work shown there.
I sincerely wonder what this will be like. We are now in production for an exhibition that will open in January at the Martha's Vineyard Museum.
Making prints, framing, titling, labeling, writing an artist statement, ordering frames, sending out publicity, social media, etc. Always a lot to do to make a show ready.
But wait, we are in the midst of a huge surge in a pandemic that is killing us by the thousands every day! Plus, there are no indications that things will be better in late January or until the vaccine arrives in the spring. Add to that how many people would go to see a show at the Vineyard in the winter months, anyway?
The reality is that this will be mostly a virtual show. We will work to make the presentation of the work accessible to as many people as possible by posting it and making videos for YouTube of the installation. Although most of you won't get to actually see the physical prints we hope to make the show as available to everyone as possible.
Meanwhile, we'll be printing, framing, titling, labeling, etc just like for any show.
Note: I first published this in March 2014 and it quickly got me in trouble. It seems some parents had signed up their daughter to take a course with me at Penland School of Crafts in North Carolina that spring. In researching their daughter's teacher they came across this post from my blog:
This Just In
They had no idea it was a joke, took it seriously and were going to withdraw their daughter from my class. It took a lot of apologizing and explaining before they'd let her take my class.
So it goes.
(Late July 2020) As the weeks and months go on, as the virus maintains its grip on our world, as our government fails in so many ways, as I work to stay safe and wear a mask, I am missing many things, as I know we all are.
I miss travel. In many ways, the core of my work over the past 20 years or so has entailed travel. The vast majority of trips I took were to make photographs, the locations and time of year chosen to make certain kinds of pictures; Washington for wheat, California for so many things including damage from wildfires, Utah for its incredible landscape, Europe and Italy for, well, all that is so wonderful about it, and the American South where I teach frequently but also because of a four-year project photographing one town: Spruce Pine in North Carolina. I would be there again in a New York minute if I could.
A small town, nestled into a valley just a few miles from the Blue Ridge Parkway in the mountains of North Carolina. The town is past its prime of being a center for feldspar and mica mining and has suffered from several arson-set fires that were set in 2007.
My photographs from four years of photographing in Spruce Pine while teaching at Penland School of Crafts a few miles away are not flashy and no single pictures stand out. The work is tightly sequenced within each year and constitutes a survey of the town and my perception at a certain period in its history and as such, serves as a symbol of many small towns across the south, caught at a crossroads between its past and an indefinite future.
I've written several blogs about the work and have tried several tactics to get the work shown, all unsuccessful. Take a look and see what you think:
Spruce Pine 2012
Spruce Pine 2013
Spruce Pine 2014
Spruce Pine 2018
I always wonder if people actually do click the link to see the work. Does that take too much effort? I am sure you'll let me know: Neal's Email