Wednesday, September 21, 2011

In Transit

PHOTOGRAPHER'S JOURNAL: They fly through the air with the greatest of stress. Each billet weighs, Carlos estimates, between one and two tons. He has learned to move evenly and to guide their enormous mass with masterful delicacy. If there is alchemy here, it is in that learned touch.

John and Carlos keep copper in motion beneath the old sawtooth roof built quickly by American Copper just as the United States was gearing up for World War I, and immigrants were streaming up the Naugatuck Valley to factory villages and ethnic neighborhoods and churches and labor unions that all spoke the mother tongue. Just beyond the glass wall of the factory the Naugatuck Line cut its channel through the buildings, yards, and activity. Many of the buildings are still there but they're empty now. Further across the tracks there was a neighborhood where the highway now runs. What is the mass of such shifting culture, the touch that might steady it, and how does it whiplash through time?