Brass Valley: The Fall of an American Industry

Brass Valley: The Fall of an American Industry
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Friday, July 23, 2010

HIddenhurst Triumphant


PHOTOGRAPHER'S JOURNAL: What was that Wallace Stevens said about the jar in Tennessee? North of Millerton there is the Nameless Valley, the subject of my most recent explorations; south of Millerton there is Hiddenhurst. I've been photographing and exploring the area for several years, and since I pass it on my way to the Nameless Valley, if my efforts are out of sync with the weather I can sometimes be distracted here. I stopped to photograph a storm and stayed for these trailing remains.

North of Millerton, no matter where I stand, it is the walls east and west that delineate space, a north-south corridor. Exploring south of Millerton the space ripples, forms plateaus, many with hilltop farms, but, like Stevens' jar, the space is organized by Hiddenhurst on a central hilltop. It's unavoidable. How many pictures I've taken here include Hiddenhurst in the background, a cameo role!

In the vicinity of Hiddenhurst the same Hudson Hills block the way west, and the decayed remains of the Taconic chain are perforated but still significant in the east. In one spot the power company's skeletal giants march across dangling high voltage cables on their fingertips. Webatuck Spring sneaks through almost invisible in a narrow canyon, hidden from the roads. Its cool, rushing waters are the source of amazing fog events many mornings. There's much to photograph here, farms dot the hillsides but all pay respects to this silent farm, source of stories and rumors, on the top of the hill, trailing cornrows on all sides.