Saturday, July 26, 2008


PHOTOGRAPHER'S DIARY: In a photograph, what separates the romantic ruin from the threatening ruin is interpretation. I believe in wandering. Yesterday I wandered in another century and wallowed in the tragedy of decay. That image was taken six minutes and thirty-nine seconds before this one. It was time enough to wander into a different cosmos.

What is the connection between the mood of a photographer and the mood of the image s/he creates? Often photographers describe a photograph as having caught what they felt as they shot it, and sometimes this happens. However, as I came off the hill where the last image was shot, the only mugger was the image in front of me; it grabbed me, but my mood changed little.

Well, yes, the smallpox hospital is a lonely place, and it makes me a bit uneasy, but that shapeless apprehension finds many different expressions. While I stood on the mound looking down into the Smallpox Hospital I was struck by the vividness of the red brick and the green vines and the way the sun transfixed them. From up on the knoll I could frame the romantic ruin a la Piranesi that I had hoped to find - nature springing fresh out of the fallen city. Then I came down off the hillock, and the same undirected anxiety found a different visual correlative and emotional content in the sign and the fence and the looming cornice, so near and yet so far from the teeming city.


GMG said...

Hi Ted!
Sorry for the absence these last weeks, but unfortunately it wasn’t due to some summer holidays… ;))
Thanks for your comments on Blogtrotter, now at the MoMA for Art and New York lovers! Hope you enjoy and wish you a great week! I’ll try to get back here to enjoy your pictures with some more time during the week!

Ted Roth said...

Enjoy NYC. You might want to visit some of the psots in these recent photos. This spot is just cross town from where you're staying.

Pat said...

Is this on Roosevelt Island?

I live in Brooklyn,NY and often blog about Manhattan and Brooklyn.

Your photgraphs are stunning!

Ted Roth said...

Yes, Roosevelt Island at the south end. Thanks for your comment. I grew up in NYC, but have lived outside the city for 40 years. However, it's in my blood.

Middle Ditch said...

Aw, what a grim place. I didn't even know that that sort of hospitals existed.

Ted Roth said...

It was in use until the 1870s when the smallpox problem became too large for the facility. Then it was used to house nursed for the larger hospital nearby. It was finally abandoned after WWII and has been in decay since. Now they are stabilizing it as a preserved ruin. Thanks for visiting.