Lakeside Park, Denver, CO. 2002
This is the last of my Lakeside posts. It is a strange thing thing to me, this work. some of it my most technically proficient, taken nearly 10 years ago. when i was 22.
It was only a year before that I had taken my first photography course, living on the jersey shore in a cut-rate seaside boarding house efficiency, spending as many mornings as I could out shooting and otherwise soaking up the surprisingly rich collection of photo books on hand at the brookdale community college library.
I was out in Denver for the summer, the one between my junior and senior year of college, for an internship with a statewide non-profit historic preservation organization. I thought perhaps that's what I was going to do, but being out there something else was evident. I spent more time and energy driving and exploring, photographing but also just seeing. It didn't help that I made the drive out to denver from pennsylvania myself, and stopped in cincinnati, detroit, chicago, and st. louis on the way. It was a deep revelation.
And so in Denver I was just beginning to see what that possibility meant. Living ten minutes from Lakeside it became a home away from home. but so was the denver public library, and the stacks of books I checked out there. so was the running path in the park outside my apartment where i ran daily. so were weekends spent in the mountains out beyond boulder, and the trips south to garden of the gods, and a creaky wood-planked room filled with antique arcade games in Manitou Springs. As I made my way through the summer and the requirements of the internship led me across the state interviewing leaders in preservation, I came to the realization that there wasn't a single job in the field I would forseeably want to take. (a predictiment that is perhaps endemic to my personality, considering my appropriation of warehouse work in lieu of meaningful employment) but nonetheless, there were so many things I loved that had absolutely nothing to do with the rarefied causes of preservation. The dregs out on the edges of Colfax ave. for instance. the motels and dive bar outposts. the disjointed-barely surviving third-rate economy of means and subsistence living. And while I generally supported the aims of preservation, the ability to do so unequivocally waned. I could not think of myself as surely and neccessarily right. There were certain fundamental contradictions at the very heart of preservation. ie what are we preserving? ok the building. but what does that mean? what about the place. well that changes. the nature and demographics will change. the neighborhood will change. the signage will change. it all will change. we are all in flux. but the building will remain and the storefront gets restored with an approriate remodeling in respect to its long distant past. and all will be well with the world. well. perhaps.
i am not against this. nor am i for this. rather it is. it's just not that great of a concern. not the central concern. it just is. it happens or it does not. what matters is being aware. to be present at that first moment of apprehension. to see with certain and distinct eyes. to make sense of the things that lay before you. to make a record. to witness, to share, to speak from the experience that is both momentary and fleeting and happens as only you happen. once. only from this type of first-hand experience does anything really make sense. but this is something I've come to in hindsight.
photography was such a specific thing to me when I took these pictures. it seemed there were only specific things to be photographed.
I still partially suffer from this today, it is perhaps a basic aspect of how I approach the medium, and of how i see. And while I am no less interested in 'things' I am less interested in them as the focus of a picture, and if they are the focus of the picture, they should be the part of a greater whole, at best they will be but an aspect, or an overiding clue. I use light as a discriminating mechanism, but it still leaves me short. the over-dependence upon objects has left me wanting. Anyone can say in a photograph… "look! here's what I found." but if it comes across as. "look! here's what I see" that becomes invariably more interesting. and deeply more rewarding.
for now I'll be pulling back a bit from flickr. not putting up that much new work but still posting some shots. Since I've moved up to NY I haven't taken any time to really sit with and look at what I've done so far. The pursuit can sometimes be a means of escape if not held in check. The need for constant stimulation through producing new work can get in the way of growing and moving forward. I need to do a bit of culling and curating. Since I don't really work in 'projects' I need to find and come to terms with the editorial thread that connects the work that I do. At least make sense of it, what's come of late. Do a solid round of printing. Make an edit, decide on a sequence, hold it in hand. look with eyes from a different aim. be a difficult bastard, in short.
I will still be here, I can't imagine not following the work of so many exceptional people. gifted with sight in the most pure sense of the word. it daily informs my experience. it is a tremendous thing. the curiousity. the passion. the intense awareness and the gaze and knowledge that it's not to be attempted with outsourced ideals. ---andrew