The Long Way Home


Evening on Penn
August 5, 2014, 7:18 PM
Filed under: Pennsylvania | Tags: , , , ,
come along with me

come along with me

When Jeff and I aren’t on the road, we travel our neighborhood, making ordinary trips to the grocery store an adventure. Last week, I took my Spectra with me on our walk to Bottom Dollar (Klondike craving), figuring I’d finally get to capture some things  that caught my attention on earlier car rides to work – times where I’m thinking, I’ll go back to that later – and it’s changed. We pass two houses on Gem Way that I filmed this past winter, now a lush, urban garden of tall grass and Queen Anne’s Lace. The row houses across the street, looming brick structures on broken Penn Avenue, a door still covered in old newspapers from, I swear, as long as we’ve lived here – seven years. All the moving around I did as a child, then a college student, then as a young adult trying to find my way, and now I’ve arrived: middle-aged, Spectra in hand, with my best friend beside me peeling silver wrapping from a frozen treat: this is home.

 

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the garden

the garden

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Limestone House
July 25, 2014, 7:05 AM
Filed under: New York | Tags: , , , , ,
Limestone House

Limestone House

Actually the house is not made of limestone, but in Limestone, New York, a hamlet just over the PA border of nearby Bradford. It was once, I’m guessing, part of a family farm, and is now filled with abandoned antiques. Each time we’ve gone up to Olean, we pass by this place, and each time we stop I peek through the windows to see if anything has changed; two years later and the living room is still filled with coat racks heavy with military jackets, an art deco metal glider, peeling rose wallpaper in the hallway. The kitchen is unrecognizable, the stove replaced with broken chairs, debris littering the floor where the fridge once stood. The porch is dangerously close to caving. There is a heaviness I feel as I tread the tall grass in the backyard. The windows are eyes, the door always open, daring us to enter and discover its secrets.

House in blue.

House in blue.

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B&W Diary
November 20, 2013, 6:05 AM
Filed under: Pennsylvania | Tags: , , , , ,
Route 19: Dairy Queen, Lawrence County

Route 19: Dairy Queen, Lawrence County

I had this black and white instant film in the fridge for the longest time and I didn’t want to mess with it because it’s finicky: it needs to be immediately shielded from light, which requires me putting on the timer, then ejecting it into a black bag (something I came up with to protect the film). But my wish to shoot in black and white won over laziness and this is what I captured: one random shot from an abandoned Dairy Queen that we found a few weeks ago, and the series below, which I thought about shooting while I was getting my hair cut this past Saturday morning. The DQ piqued our interest because we thought it was a junk shop, but realized it had been forgotten for years: cracked windows lined in broken bottles and mummified birds pressed against glass. I loved though how the sunlight created hard shadows of the weeds against the cinderblock, and the film grain made them look so delicate. Weeks later, and I’m sitting in the hairdressing chair flipping through BUST, thinking about self-portraits, the geometry of the human form, shadows and light  – all that beautiful Saturday light that we haven’t seen much of for the past few days, and I knew I had to take advantage of it. These are an imperfect batch – soft focus, grainy, contrasty  – and they make me miss those long hours I used to spend in the darkroom, lost, but comforted in the red light.

voila

voila

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Through the Fields
October 30, 2013, 7:12 PM
Filed under: Pennsylvania | Tags: , , , , ,
happy halloween

happy halloween

Yesterday Jeff and I both lucked out and had off from work at the same time, so we treated ourselves to a drive north on Route 19, one of our first road trips together. Our mission was to treasure hunt (as usual), but as we drove, I kept getting the itch to shoot film. I realized as I sat there watching fields roll past my window how much of a compulsion photography has become for me over the years: when I’m not actually taking photos, I’m thinking about what I’ll shoot next. Every adventure is the next possible story. I also have these fantasies of running through wide, open fields, but settled for the next best thing: a dusty, wheat-colored cornfield, the perfect textures for black and white film. I’m not sure what happened with this film batch, but the imperfections are kind of growing on me. It was a beautiful fall day to celebrate Halloween and our upcoming anniversary – five years of love bursting at the seams with many more roads to travel.

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In Like a Lion
March 8, 2013, 6:30 AM
Filed under: Pennsylvania | Tags: , , ,
self-portraits

self-portraits

Wednesday opened with a snowstorm. Giant fat flakes clinging to tree limbs and telephone wires, the kind of snow people wish for every Christmas. The day grew warmer, the snow melted – three seasons in a work day’s time. You can’t trust March. Its unpredictable weather, a month without identity: not quite winter, but not yet spring. The year starts for me here, a place where I can leave behind the dark months and push forward to spring with its obvious “fresh start” metaphors. Reorganize, reflect. Stay focused and allow myself the luxury to dream.

two friends, three strangers

two friends, three strangers

cabin fever

cabin fever



January’s Gift
February 17, 2013, 9:18 AM
Filed under: Art Gallery | Tags: , , , ,
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January gave us a near-seventy-degree day which gave me a chance to use an expired pack of film that I originally planned to use for our Halloversary photos.October though gave us a few January days, which were too cold to shoot outdoors. I didn’t want to waste film, so I waited. There is a point where I admit that I have to shoot before it goes to shit, so I grab the camera and head to our backyard: a concrete parking slab with the much-talked-about abandoned building to our left (or right, depending which way you look at it). Black and whites remind me of Sunday afternoons with my sister watching Abbot and Costello movies in our pajamas – our mother wanting us to take advantage of sunny days,  but the two of us content to stay indoors focusing on TV static and crackle.

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Cathedral Stories
September 17, 2012, 6:40 PM
Filed under: Art Gallery | Tags: , , , ,

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You wouldn’t know it, but I took these shots in a church: Saint Paul’s basement in Oakland. I was shooting more church-like photos for another project, and caught sight of that checkered-tile floor as I leaned over the bannister of a staircase. I haven’t shot digital for months, so it felt strange to click off a bunch of frames instead of economizing them like I do with instant film.  I’ve been more cautious with photography this year; I’m hesitant to take risks. I’ve been more protective of my grief, and talking about my mother’s life, and I wonder if this is affecting my creative life as well. Also, Jeff and I haven’t traveled much lately — a typical impetus for picture projects —  but we planned a few road trips for fall which I’m excited about visiting through my lens.

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