Brass Valley: The Fall of an American Industry

Brass Valley: The Fall of an American Industry
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Thursday, June 28, 2012

detail 1


PHOTOGRAPHER'S JOURNAL: What units measure my distance from the people who built these terraces? How do I weigh the gap? How far are they, am I, from the hovering walls of the dark gorge?  A visit here is a sublime assault of spiritual vertigo. They tell me it's just the altitude, but I believe it's a matter of scale and proximity and forces we lack the tools to plumb. 

The dark monolith in the center of the image, just behind the watchman's tower, is the sheer face of a mountain cliff. Trees cling to the cliff and you can just make out a flag on a pole at the top. In reality it would stand tall next to the watchman's tower. The distance between is deceptive, the distance down, too far to fall. The Urubamba River swirls there for several million years, and smaller than a sparrow; my time at the top, too short to note.

This image is a detail extracted from yesterday's panorama. Look at the previous image to see where it fits. With time to stroll, I'd climb up and down the terraces walking back and forth, framing images with my long lens, ecstatic with vertigo, watching how the guard tower danced with the mountain peak between the garden terraces and the mountain walls, till the sun dropped, and the gorges were sealed.