Monday, August 10, 2009

cinder block photo series

I've been thinking about posting these photos for awhile. You are looking at two photos from a new series of photos that i took last spring in Atlanta, just off of Marietta Blvd. I was driving by the site and the sun was hitting this massive pile of blocks beautifully. It was like a rolling hill in a cemetery with the light reflecting off the stones.

I dropped everything I was doing, went home, and grabbed the camera and tri-pod and headed right back. A half an hour later the light was even better. I took about 30 pictures and everyone of them is incredible. This mass grave of material was lifeless and I was torn between capturing the moment and documenting a loss.

I turned 40 last year, and got married this summer. My life is changing and I have spent much of it running from the first half. Sometimes I feel as though I have entered my work at a half way point, or rather that the viewer doesn't know the whole story. Most people don't know me or my work before I moved to Atlanta in 1995. Oddly, I'm not sure I knew me, but I was searching. I have been thinking a lot about why I am interested in architecture, art, and cars. It could be home remodeling projects with my father or car restoration with my brother. Obviously my high school art program had a huge impact.

I remember a house on my way to school or church. I rode my bike by it everyday, even in the summer on my way to the pool. It was strange by small town Winterset, Iowa standards. It was two stories high, and the only home in the whole town that had a flat roof. With the annual snowfall a flat roof is asking for trouble. It was modern and stood out like a sore thumb. Built in the mid 40's at 420 E. Court Street. i rode my bike by that house for years and could only imagine the celebrity that lived in that house. Probably summered there between shooting movies. I wasn't old enough to understand California modernism at the time, but I was sure the person that lived there was from California, a fantasy land far away from my bland life in Iowa.

The house had a porch on the second floor and a wrap around patio that was covered. A real party house I'd think. Fellow celebrities drinking martini's smoking cigarettes late into the evening without a care in the world, because they were in the middle of nowhere.

A few years ago I was back in Winterset, I took my then future wife to see where I grew up. I took her by the house almost before I went by my own. Winterset was famous for the birth of John Wayne and the 13 covered bridges that Clint Eastwood made a movie about. Its nice, but even with all of its "culture", it wasn't enough. I've always wanted more.

I took pictures of the house, all 4 sides, in preparation for a series of drawings, maybe even paintings. I took the pictures because there is one thing i have learned living in Atlanta. You take pictures of modern buildings because they may not be there when you drive by again. They become rubble and they scoop them up and fill an empty hole in the ground with them. Developers don't think twice. The lives that were lived in those buildings are no match for the profit they will make. So it is interesting to think of a building in terms of a life.

The new series of photos above are the first into my look at the past. I know they seem quite final in their view of destruction. I would really like to focus on what is here now, a documentary process of capturing what is left. I've missed so many. Many of these buildings are not even important examples of modernism, but the more they take down the more important the mundane becomes.

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