Theo playing in the backyard as we do a little lawn maintenance. He really loves his “diggers and dumpers.”
When you play with expired film, sometimes you get a mash of spotty color and weak contrast. This roll turned out fine, and I’m grateful. There are some other shots of Theo, but this is the one I really took as a favorite. There aren’t any particularly amazing messages coming from this, but it is still a nice “day in the life” work.
I’m spending more of my time working on series for show, getting gallery work together and really striving for a more “fine art” presentation. It’s a bit exhausting, and it doesn’t always give me the space to just shoot. I’ve gotten more hesitant about sharing work on social media, as if the responses won’t be honest enough. I want to just work with sharingprints these days, but even that has become a block and I’m not printing as much as I was earlier this year. I feel that if I bring this work out into the world, I need a worthy place to present and discuss. And that’s still being searched for.…maybe indefinitely.
All that said, I like this photo as it takes me away from all that navel gazing and is just a nice time hanging out with Theo.
Mississippi is a bit of home. There isn’t anywhere I’ve spent as much time, and very few places I’ve done as much photography. I tend to tread carefully with that imagery however. It’s a loaded space to photograph — nearly everyone I’ve known has history there, and not all of it pleasant.
How do you go from broadly painted strokes to personally vivid, narrowly focused work? Where is a starting point, maybe a touchstone for focusing in on a single moment? If that can be found, then we can work backwards and build a narrative that involves the history and the presence of the area. Instead of a few vague thoughts, we will have created a solid construct to handle all the information and emotion from engaging such an overpowering entity.
I had the exceptional opportunity to photograph in two dear places in late February. One, the town of Natchez, was where I was born and spent a great majority of my early life. Walking around downtown and visiting my grandparent’s old home and church, taking photographs of places I’d been photographing since nearly my first roll of film. It was remarkable in the quiet and nothingness of a sunny Tuesday afternoon. The other location was around my in-law’s family farm house. My wife’s great-aunt passed away in the late 1990’s and the house had been untouched in many ways since. Although the property is occupied with equipment and horses, the house itself has been devoid of permanent residence in over a decade. Being granted permission to photograph the rooms as I found them was a luxury — the insight into what is still a very accurate portrait of life there was amazing.
Using those two locations as the general map for tracking a path across Mississippi, I gathered material for a series tentatively titled “Where the Dust Settles.” Below is one of the photographs from that series. All film, either Ektar 100 (120) or Ilford HP5+ (35mm).
The simplicity of a bathroom — a heater, a cabinet. Left ajar for a dozen or more years. To be honest, I don’t even know if the cabinet is empty. There could very well be medicine, band-aids, old magazines and Maalox waiting for a bit of light to shine in. But it was not my turn to disturb the scene. I set up, metered/focused and exposed the film.
A few favorites from an informal session with Eryn’s cousin Matt Haynes
Getting back into film, these were taken over two shoots (spaced out about two weeks I think) at the Biltmore Estate. Good memories with Theo, and also good lighting as the day got a little longer and I could stretch out the time wandering around.
A wonderful exhibit at Holden Gallery on the campus of Warren Wilson College. My cousin, Noah Saterstrom, collaborated with many writers and poets to create a show pairing written and visual works.