•COMING IN SEPTEMBER, 2015•

Brass Valley: The Fall of an American Industry

by Emery Roth

Friday, July 13, 2007

New Horizons


Even if my failed hard drive caused my Maine photos to be lost forever, the trip was more than worth the time, effort, and cost. Yesterday evening I went out shooting for the first time since getting back from Maine. I returned to one of the sites that I have been shooting repeatedly, but I saw it with new eyes. Part of the credit for this must go to the perceptive comments of the workshop leader, but more often the changes wrought by Frank Lavelle's comments have focused me more clearly and critically on shots I would have taken before. Certainly, my new eyes were in significant part do to shooting alongside 10 other photographers all of whom saw the same sites but differently. However, at least as important in refreshing my vision was the very act of shooting in very different places for two weeks. My strategy of going back and back and back to the same sites won't change, but I'm also now more aware of the value of sometimes varying my diet.

The shot above was not taken last night; it is one of the Maine shots taken at a remarkable antique junk shop that Frank took us to. Next to the day spent shooting people at the July 4th festival, this junk shop was the most difficult shoot. Aisles as tight and sometimes as dark as mine shafts led through mountains of unidentifiable widgets, tools, fabrics, furniture, household clutter, taxidermic survivals and more. Periodically glaring flourescents would cast ugly light across this debris. Even when I found myself intrigued by objects it was tough to find light and space to shoot them as I wanted. I spent too much time arranging a bunch of large pulleys into a still life that was stillborn. I spent less time arranging 50 shovels so they would like like the scales of an animal - another failure. I shot where I could and tried to see more. I never expected to see a landscape in old saws. I wish the shot above had a slightly sharper focus. By the time I took this I was rushing and moved on. Like the previous shots from Maine, it remains at this point unsigned, a work in progress, perhaps, but to me an interesting attempt.

The good news is that this morning I got a call from David Mafucci of Visionary Computer in Lakeville, CT. He had worked his retrieval magic. His computers worked on my hard drive through the night, and I now have my Maine shots restored. In the next week I hope to process some of these as finished images. I have paid the bill but remain indebted to David for his rescue work.