Photo Exploration: Theo in the Backyard, June 2014.

Theo, June 2014

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.

Photo Exploration: Empty Cabinet

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).

Empty Cabinet

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. 

When the cousin comes to town

A few favorites from an infor­mal ses­sion with Eryn’s cousin Matt Haynes

Biltmore with Theo, Film

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.

Noah’s Art Show at Warren Wilson College

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.