•COMING IN SEPTEMBER, 2015•

Brass Valley: The Fall of an American Industry

by Emery Roth

Friday, February 22, 2008

Hillside Farm with Birches


EDWARD STEICHEN: "The photographer establishes a relationship, an intimate relationship between himself and whatever he is photographing whether it's a can of beans, a landscape, or Greta Garbo."
MINOR WHITE: "Be still with yourself until the object of your attention affirms your presence."

PHOTOGRAPHER'S DIARY: There are times when an image seems to grab me from the corner of my eye and I know I have to shoot it. Certainly it shouldn't have happened just at this moment. A few moments earlier I had abandoned a good shot as hopeless. Not only had the snow become merciless, but my car was parked smack at the climax of the image.

It's sometimes difficult to find the space where pictures start to happen, nor can I quite say what happens when I enter that space. Until then the elements of the landscape are parts to a jigsaw puzzle that won't go together. Then suddenly ideas are plentiful; every prospect suggests multiple gestalts. I had climbed the hill with the intention of leaving, but once at the car, the landscape was so suddenly rearranged that new compositions were everywhere. Every shot had to be quick - aimed, focused, and shot in an instant in order to get the lens cap back on before it got wet, but I knew I was already in motion toward moving the car and returning to the bottom of the hill to find the good angle again.

And so there's no good reason why this shot should have grabbed just as I started the trek back down. I was in motion to a new site for one final shot. The snow was at its worst. I'd been shooting for 4 hours with good results. No good reason! I was looking the other way, but suddenly, there at my left ear were these birches and this oddly proportioned barn and so many wonderful textures. It probably shouldn't work at all with the barns just sitting there right in the middle, but it insisted on having its picture taken. I snapped two images and the memory card was filled.