In February 2014 I wrote a series of blogs about the time I spent with the photographer Fred Sommer in Prescott AZ in 1979.
At the end of that most incredible of visits, I said goodbye to Fred and his wife Frances, got back in my aging Porsche 914 and drove straight from Arizona to Washington, DC and, effectively crashed. Staying with friends, if memory serves I slept for a night and a day, and then went out to photograph.
What I did was try to assimilate much of what Fred had told me earlier in the week.
If you've followed this blog for a while you know that it wasn't until 1981 or 1982 that I came across the way of working I call "series work." And yet, there I was making photographs that stylistically look much as the Nantucket pictures did three years later or the Yountville pictures did a little after that.
However, these are "immature" in that I knew nothing about linking my pictures together in 1979. I thought of these simply as single pictures reflecting the time and place and little else.
Next up? I am working on a new offering, a limited edition portfolio. We don't see so much of these anymore but I am going to make a set of photographs of something very special and will announce them here.
(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.
What a year.
So much pain, so much suffering, so many dead.
For many, a year to get past, to be done with, to move on from. But I wish you all the best of holidays. Stay close, hang with family and loved ones. Be safe. We will be past this soon.
Four years ago this same time, just before Christmas, I wrote a blog that sought to make connections between things disparate. I was working on a book called "Trees, Sand and Snow." The blog is: here. I just reread it and believe it's worth taking a look at.
And, I will leave you with this:
Perhaps not the most upbeat views of Xmas views, but not a total disaster either. Two wreaths hung high (so as not to be stolen?) in a mall parking lot, the store a Bed Bath and Beyond and gray wintery skies.
Wishing you the best.
Mountain View Estates: what comes to mind? A series of Tyrolian style cottages nestled in a pasture looking over the Swiss Alps, perhaps? Or a gated community of high-end homes with a grand view of the snow-capped Colorado Rockies?
Not at all. Mt View Estates is a housing development sitting on a hill above a gravel pit in White River Junction, Vermont.
I found it in 1991:
It blew me away and became an obsession, as these things do, for about a year. Here are a few more:
Hypothetical: local builder gets word that the old gravel pit up the hill is going on sale. His uncle is on the town planning board so they cut a deal that will allow the builder to buy the land cheap and put houses on it around the perimeter of the actual pit. Rules are bent. There is only a passing discussion about whether some of the new homes might slide into the pit. They both make out like bandits.
Last picture in the series:
A dead bird.
Prints are about 12 inches square and are analog, printed by me, and archivally processed. They are in A+ condition. There is only one set.
Box where the negatives are stored.
The full series is on the gallery page of the site: Mt View Estates
Wishing you a warm, safe, and excellent holiday. May 2021 bring us all relief from this godawful pandemic. I do believe things will start to improve on January 20th.
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