Thursday, December 18, 2014


PHOTOGRAPHER’S JOURNAL:  Brass Valley, The Fall of an American Industry, would not have been photographed and written if it were not for the workers and management who allowed me to photograph anything, anywhere, at the only two campuses (formerly Anaconda/American Brass) where large scale manufacturing continued in Brass Valley. However, at this time last year the mills finally closed; the remaining workers were out of work; four years of photographing the active production line of the two mills came to an end; the story I was telling was told. 

Now the book is done and in the hands of the publisher, but I’m still shooting. Everywhere along the river the last relics of Brass Valley heavy industry are about to be swept away. It seems right for me to follow this track to the end. As production slowed at the mill it was too painful to go back and photograph. I didn’t return until spring. By then most of the men I’d known were long gone, scrapping and salvaging were about to begin, and I gained access to a third large site last active in 1989.

Up and down Brass Valley, in Torrington, Thomaston, Waterbury, and Ansonia city planners, politicians, humanitarians, developers and visionaries are all warming bulldozers to remove the last relics of Brass Valley, heavy industry. This is one of the places where heavy industry was invented at a time when there was no such thing as a school of engineering. What took place here created the modern middle class, and I hear little talk as to whether any of Brass Valley is worth saving.

What's left to photograph is the dismemberment and dissolution of forces that made us who we are. I’m not sure where this track will lead me, but I’m still following it. However, the book isn’t about that; it's about Brass Valley as it was when the furnaces were cooking. 

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Brass Valley: Fall of an American Industry
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