•COMING IN SEPTEMBER, 2015•

Brass Valley: The Fall of an American Industry

by Emery Roth

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Danger


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.