Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Eventually I'll sort through all the Kingsley photographs I've posted here, and select the ones I like the most and submit them with an essay somewhere.  But, it will probably be many months to a year before that happens.  They seem to almost self sort into abstracts and documents, and I can't bring myself to favor one approach over the other.  The abstracts neglect the reality of what these cabins were, but the documents ignore their abstract beauty.  So, the project may have to have two separate but equal parts, and I use that phrase with full awareness of its provenance.  The legacy of slavery was institutionalized racial segregation, and it has only been a few decades since that abhorrent practice was abolished by the Supreme Court.  Even today the foul stench of racism has not been fully cleansed from the air. 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

I made this photograph in 2004.  I was driving to the Kingsley Plantation, and was startled to see a road like this that just isn't the kind of scene one finds in the northeast.  I had my 4x5 kit with me that day, and the negative is rich in detail and tonal gradations (as only a large format film negative can be, and digital files simply can't.).  It's strikingly similar to the photograph I posted a week ago of the arbored path at Washington Oaks State Park.  The road to Kingsley, however, never looked like this when the plantation was under active cultivation.  All these acres were cleared and planted.  The lush, abundant flora has taken over in the interval since.

Monday, April 21, 2014

I returned to Kingsley Plantation on Saturday to continue my essay on the slave cabins.  It was a relatively pleasant day, but there was strong sun.  I got quite sweaty during the hour or two I photographed and couldn't help remembering that slaves spent all day working in those conditions, and later in the season, far, far worse.  When I needed to, I stood in shade.  When they needed to, they couldn't.

Here's a passage by Solomon Northup who wrote Twelve Years a Slave in 1853.  He had been born a free man living in upstate New York until captured by slavers and sent south to be sold into bondage.  He had been a farmer and musician:  "Alas, had it not been for my beloved violin, I scarcely know how I could have endured the long years of bondage...it was my companion – the friend of my bosom – trumpeting loudly when I was joyful, and uttering its soft melodious consolations when I was sad. Often, at midnight when sleep had fled affrighted from the cabin and my soul was disturbed and troubled with the contemplation of my fate, it would sing me a song of peace."  It was difficult to copy the text so filled were my eyes with tears.  

Friday, April 18, 2014

My previous post offered two photographs taken at Washington Oaks SP.  The park has two parts: inland, where the arbored path was photographed and the beach where this photograph was made.  I was trying, without success, to photograph pelicans as they course up the beach from the south.  I did register them on film, but not well enough to keep.  But, this odd little breach in the small dune got my attention.  I detest those who, despite signs requesting them not to, walk and climb on the precarious dunes that are so very fragile.  Maybe this photograph will serve to show the consequence of ignoring the plea to stay off!  A reminder that hydrogen and stupid are the most common elements in the universe!

Monday, April 14, 2014

I met a couple of friends last week at Washington Oaks State Park.  We three had our cameras and took the path in the first picture that we each photographed.  For those with an interest in such things, I used a 45mm lens which is the equivalent of a 24mm lens on a 35mm film or digital camera.

After lunch, I returned by myself intent on making a photograph of the gnarly trees that line one side of the road to the beach.  I'm not happy with it because the palmettos were so pervasive I couldn't do the twisty trees justice, but without a machete and money for bail and a huge fine, there was nothing I could do. Perhaps there's a way to poison palmettos in the park???  ;-)

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Here's another from 2001 at Tremen Glen.  I would have photographed it differently this year.  I'd have been more aware of the shape of negative space and the quiet links between male and female elements of this scene.  But, that said, I'm not displeased with what I was beginning to be visually aware of back then.  Waiting for the ultimate insight into the ultimate composition of the ultimate subject suggests that one's lifetime body of work will be one single photograph.  Not my goal!!