My work in the Blackstone Valley of central Massachusetts and Rhode Island constantly reminds me of the tension between human activity and the environment. Tension of course can lead to both positive and negative results, on occasion simultaneously. We visited the Blackstone Gorge yesterday, and tried to picnic at the Roaring (or Rolling, depends on who you ask) Dam. It’s a beautiful spot. There’s been a dam here since the early 1800’s. The purpose of the dam was to create a power supply for the explosion of textile mills built along the banks of the Blackstone River. The mills are long gone. The water is getting cleaner thanks to the work of many citizens, communities and various government agencies. But the sediment, the dirt under the River, is still toxic in many places. Removing the sediment will be enormously expensive. Perhaps too expensive. But we’re left with the water’s beauty. A good deal? Perhaps a good lesson.
I’m honored to report that one of my images just received a third place award at the “Anything Goes” Photography Exhibition at the Blackstone Valley Arts Association in Uxbridge, Massachusetts. There is some tremendous work in the exhibition so if you’re in the area, considering stopping in. I was particularly pleased because the juror was Stephen Dirado. He’s one of the top fine art photographers in New England and though I’ve actually never met him, I’ve followed him for some time. He shots large format black and white photography, and his imagery is absolutely stunning. This is an abstract image, taken at the South Natick Dam along the Charles River. I thought of a Greek Letter. You’re invited to draw your own conclusions.
Regardless of your religion, may you and yours make it to the light.
I’m again participating in the Atelier Exhibition at the Griffin Museum of Photography.
Atelier 25 opens tonight and runs through March 31. I want to thank Meg Birnbaum and Amy Amy Rindskopf for leading the exhibition. My work is from the “Lost in the Water Project.”
Last week I posted a series of images of the water flow at the South Natick Dam, along the Charles in Natick, Massachusetts. Using long exposure techniques I’ve enjoyed studying the way the water flows around its various obstructions. My interest in the water, and enjoyment of being at the water is hardly new or unique of course. The flow of water has been providing sustenance and soothing to humanity for as long as we’ve been here (though it doesn’t seem to help us much in weeks like this one). Focus on water is of course also not unique to humans. I was reminded of this recently while continuing to photograph here.
Of course this fellow does it for a living. Note that these are long exposures. But he’s not moving. Those who photograph wildlife routinely will generally confirm that wild animals never actually stand still. They may be quite, but not still. He’s staring at the water and continued to do so for a good 20 minutes. He then changed positions and continued his focused attention. A young couple nearby struck up a conversation and reminded me that he’s doing that because he has to. We listen to the water because we like it. How did it all start? We’ll see this fellow again soon.
Technical note: These images were shot on film, TMAX 100 and Pan F 50. Both are wonderful films, still available. There is very little grain visible except under a magnifying glass. I sometimes shoot with film just to make me think about things in a more contemplative fashion. I found it most helpful here.