•COMING IN SEPTEMBER, 2015•

Brass Valley: The Fall of an American Industry

by Emery Roth

Monday, March 30, 2009

Rabbit Hill, Winter, 2005


WALKER EVANS: "When you say 'documentary' you have to have a sophisticated ear to receive the word. It should be documentary style because documentary photography is police photography of the scene of a murder. . . .  That's a real document. You see art is really useless, and a document has use. And therefore art is never a document, but it can adopt that style. I do it. I'm called a documentary photographer. But that presupposes a quite subtle knowledge of this distinction."

WALKER EVANS: (from a wall label for an exhibition of signs and photographs of signs): "The photographer, the artist, "takes" a picture; symbolically he lifts an object or a combination of objects, and in so doing he makes a claim for that object or that composition, and a claim for his act of seeing in the first place. The claim is that he has rendered his object in some way transcendent, and that in each instance his vision has penetrating validity."

PHOTOGRAPHER'S JOURNAL: March is the time of dead land. Change is in the bud and cracking up through the hard earth, but the ice is not yet melted, and the buds are tight shut. I strain for the least hint of color and wait for the warm rain. Tentatively I am crossing my fingers and hoping my dungeon labor at the computer is done. The backup genie seems satisfied for now. Enough! One more photo from 2005 suggests the mood I can't quite throw off.

I spent all of today shooting on Rabbit HIll where brisk wind drove the patchy remnants of tired storms over the hill. Later in the day breaks occurred promising, "theater lights." I scoped and waited. The sun frequently bathed next the hill south and later lit the hills north, but there were only thirty second when it fell on Rabbit Hill. An inky track of impenetrable gray gloom moved all day long over rabbit hill stopping the sun.

The photo above shot in January of '05 has never been shown before. Until recently I was bothered by the position of the wires. My compositional aesthetic is more reminiscent of painting. I don't seek a documentary style. Then again, the sense of moment is acute enough here that I've come to find this more documentary-style composition quite intriguing. Best seen, like the previous TODAY'S, full screen.