Brass Valley: The Fall of an American Industry

Brass Valley: The Fall of an American Industry
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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Sun Spots

HARRY CALLAHAN: "I feel a little bit like a painter. A painter applies brush stroke after brush stroke, working toward something. It's just a matter of knowing when to quit. You know it's in there somewhere."

PHOTOGRAPHER'S JOURNAL: Back at Beardsley Farmstead this September I saw this late summer whirl, and I remembered images I made right here in 2008 (1), (2), (3), in the middle of winter in a snow storm. The painter, "applies brush stroke after brush stroke." The photographer shoots image after image, experimenting and refining, reaching after the potential that made him stop and shoot in the first place.

The recent series of blog entries was an attempt to sample some of the new farmsteads visited and photographed this summer. Reviewing those shoots and looking closely at some for the first time was overdue. As expected there are many photos I hoped for that proved to be, "not quite," even after I tugged at them in Photoshop in every way I could think of. As always, there were also days that yielded several images worth "developing." However, it was the old sites, farmsteads I'd shot last year and some the year before, that produced the majority of the best shots. New farm sites like Blueberry Hill, Smithfield Guernsey, Salmon Kill Hollow, Hammertown Road, Cream Hill, Sedgwick Hollow and others have potential not yet realized.
•What do I learn from returning to the same sites that makes results improve with time?
•How do I approach familiar sites differently than sites which are new?
•How familiar is familiar?

I came here because I knew the field would be "ripe," and the afternoon sun would make it glisten. I knew that even with my ladder the angles from the top of the field, between the rowed trees, would be tough. When I failed, I knew to check the garden. I noted one of the outbuildings had fallen down. I would have stayed longer, but I wanted to get to one of the new sites.

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This is one of those images that needs to be seen large. Click the image above to enlarge.