•COMING IN SEPTEMBER, 2015•

Brass Valley: The Fall of an American Industry

by Emery Roth

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Beside the Housatonic River, Autumn, 2010, No. 2


PHOTOGRAPHER'S JOURNAL: As silos to dairy farms, so chimneys and towers to industrial mills. They make the horizontal world vertical; they offer the photographer opportunities and dilemmas. This tower, which is topped by a rusting tank, probably stored water pumped from the river for use in the mills.

Given certain conditions, it is clear that the inanimate, dead world strives with amazing determination and dexterity toward perception and differentiation. The most primitive cells say "I am," seek sentience to turn toward the light, and strive to distinguish between that which they can eat and that which will eat them. As hawks search for their prey, rivers seek the ocean, the sun holds the planets aloft, and yellowing vines cling to an ancient scaffold to reach the sun. Are they all animated by the same current? Where is its source, or is such a question paradoxical? Are the forms perceived its finite, corporeal shape, and are they intuited through sensing and perceiving organs that are also of its making? At least that's been my contemplation from here in the cave of my Cartesian heritage.

The old factory is quiet, the water tower above the river, empty. Here the leaves flare before the coming chill. This weekend the oaks, last holdouts, dropped their leaves, and now the chill is off the ocean blowing from the east and north, and on Monday everything was covered with ice.