•COMING IN SEPTEMBER, 2015•

Brass Valley: The Fall of an American Industry

by Emery Roth

Monday, July 6, 2009

The Barrens


PHOTOGRAPHER'S JOURNAL: Where I live the curtain has been graciously drawn across the cataclysm. Sometimes I come upon it unexpectedly in the forest, a huge rock turned at an odd angle and in an unlikely spot, but for the most part the forests have grown back where the farmers used to have fields. I search for expanses of open land where one can feel the rolling of the earth and see the ancient convulsions that stood in the way of the farmers' crops. Chances are good that there's a stone wall there.

Growing up in New York City, I used to admire The Palisades. Even though as early as the 19th century men had been chipped away massive quantities of them for cheap railroad ballast, such efforts seemed puny compared to The Palisades' immensity. Now condo towers hop across the them as if they weren't there as the city itself spreads over them. Of course the furnace that built the Palisades would quickly incinerate anything that has stood there in the last thousand years. In the case of The Barrens, the critical cataclysm came, not with fire but with ice, and nothing now hides the violence of its chilly lacerations.