Brass Valley: The Fall of an American Industry

Brass Valley: The Fall of an American Industry
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Monday, July 19, 2010

Rolling No. 3


PHOTOGRAPHER'S JOURNAL: It is probably the largest physical space I've tried to photograph, at least on land. I believe it is a single physical space, a valley with clearly defined walls to the east and west, though its northern and southern boundaries remain vague to me. To the best of my knowledge, it has no special name by which it is known. It is part of a territory that was long disputed by Connecticut, New York, and Massachusetts. As a photographer I also note, it contains no single dominant subject, save itself. The act of trying to shoot it has both enlarged and narrowed my concept of what it means to me to be a landscape photographer, photographing land and space.

The question of labels is a nuisance and needlessly confining. There are many ways to be a photographer, but at times I'm in need of one to address people's assumptions; I don't do weddings. However, I do enjoy walking the hills. Until this month I would have described all that I photograph there as landscape, save an occasional floral or insect macro or a bird shot, so landscape photographer is a useful label among many, though I now put as much emphasis on the "scape." Taking my wanderings to this nameless valley has, for better or worse, reminded me that my muse is guided not only by interest in the old buildings and their histories but by a desire to know the land, to experience it as spaces, and draw on that for images.

Exploration here feels a bit different than at other sites I've shot.