Since I first started playing guitar I had wound my strings into a little round object as they came off for new strings. It was really more a function of keeping the strings in place as they came off the instrument and not laying around haphazardly.
But over time I started to really love the circular shape and I tried to put a little intention in how I wrapped the strings. I certainly am not the first (or ten thousandth) to do so, but I did really like the way they looked. Especially the older strings when I was lax on changing them. Their worn down feel was beautiful when woven together — all the different thicknesses and material in and out, with enough natural flex and resistance to manual positioning that each set of strings was a little unique.
At Kanuga this past June, the time came to change strings on site. I’d been deliberating on taking a photo of the cabin wall by itself, but I realized that what I really needed was to make a photo of the strings on the wall. The contrast of the organic wall with the two nails (which have been there since who knows when) and the metal circles all came together very well in a late afternoon long exposure (I believe it was 2 seconds at f/11).
I am grateful of my history at Kanuga. I’ve been going there twenty years this summer, and it continues to be as formative then as it was that first year. I’ve almost always stayed in the #30–36 cabins and the textured green walls are as familiar as my own skin. I’m pleased with this image, as a remembrance of a quiet time and place in the midst of a hectic life.
Using the camera as a tool to record a staged event is of mixed regards, and the tensionÂ of still life vs more “street” or “organic” compositions still goes back and forth in my ownÂ aesthetic. However, I do believe that it is possible to create a clearer statement of place and/or time by layering objects deliberately and then recording that content than by waiting and hoping to chance upon arrangements that speak the same. If we are to have clarityÂ of our memories and our recollections, we must be able to express those same through whatever tools we have available.
Now, an interesting step further is that I left the strings there on the wall. If another photographer was to come onto the porch and see those strings and make an image, they would have the opposite reasoning for doing so — their recording of a found formation as opposed to my intentional creation. Would they feel any connection to my work? Would their prints be at all related to mine of the same scene? Maybe next time I visit Kanuga they will still be there and I can investigate, at least contrasting my own establishing vs finding work.