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Posts tagged ‘Croatan Sound’

On Exhibit at the Griffin Museum of Photography

Things have been a bit slow on the photography front as alas, I’m still fighting off the poison sumac and the various complications that resulted from that joyful experience.  Things seem to be improving once again, so here is hoping.  Meanwhile, I’m once again grateful to the Griffin Museum of Photography in Winchester, MA. for the opportunity to show a few pieces of my work.  The images below are hanging in the current Atelier exhibition, which runs until September 28.  If you like photography and live in eastern or central Massachusetts, the Griffin is an incredible resource. The Atelier is lead by Meg Birnbaum who continues to be an inspiration and a guide.  If you can’t make it…(click for a larger image).  These are from the collection “Erosion” from Manteo along the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

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The Tides of Nature and History Meet

The north end of Roanoke Island, within the borders of the Town of Manteo, North Carolina, offers for me the most compelling location I’ve yet found on the Outer Banks of North Carolina.  It’s a largely secluded spot, though visitors occasionally park in the lot to walk or relax the beach (though one needs to watch out for the snakes).  I’m intrigued, and drawn back to the location, by the interplay between history and nature here.  In the water close to sure, as well along the beach are the remains of a dying forest.  The land has eroded and the trees have largely perished.  It is an on-going process down here, as it is in many places.

This is an historic location from the human perspective as well.  An important American Civil War battle took off and on shore here, a battle to control the sounds along the eastern coast of North Carolina.  The Union took the prize.  Roanoke Island came under Federal control.  As a result, near this location there was once a “Freedman’s Colony,” a refuge for escaped slaves from the mainland. It’s a long and possible dangerous journey across Croatan Sound, which you can see here.  It must have seen far more dangerous then.  And of course, this is near to Fort Raleigh, the location of the first English landing in the New World, one that did not go well.  The “Lost Colony” was the result. Now, it is quiet, except of the storms that blow in from the west.

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More to come.

The Quandry of Simplicity

I’ve been seeking the “Holy Grail” recently and as is typically the case, coming up empty handed.  So what constitutes a good photograph?  Stupid question, I know. The answer is “a good photograph.” There is no answer other than, it all depends.  But that doesn’t stop us from trying.  As many wiser people have told me, or written, art is so subjective that if you’re aspiring to practice it, you are buying yourself an on-going confidence problem.  Is it any good?  Well, it really does all depend. You’re supposed to learn the rules of photography when you start getting serious, but then you’re supposed to break them routinely.  My most recently I have been worshipping at the alter of simplicity.  Edie Adams famously said that the best photographs are simple, they have just a one or two elements.  You try to get everything else out of the frame.

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That little clump of grass has a true life of its own.  It survives storm after storm, and it’s still there, by itself.  (All the images in this blog are from my recent trip to Manteo, on the Outer Banks of North Carolina.  This is an early evening shot of Roanoke Sound.)  There is a large bridge just to the right of the frame and closer to the photographer, on either side of the frame is significant and quite attractive foliage.  There is very little beach.  You just get a hint of the rocks in the fore ground.  The image is then heavily cropped, albeit in the lens.

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Here’s a somewhat messy location on the other side of the Island, overlooking Croatan Sound.  I have cropped (in camera and in the digital darkroom) severely to simplify the image.  This is a public location but it is poorly kept. This was actually the location of the  Confederate Battery that was supposed to stop the Union Navy from capturing the Island and controlling sea access to North Carolina during the Civil War.  The Confederates were shall we say not successful.

I enjoy the simplicity of the image and the one or two elements (I guess you’d say four actually, counting the sky.)  But can you live your life that way?

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Let me say it for you…”what the hell is that?”  That is the bottom of the root system of an overblown tree, half submerged in the water.  You find it along a charming nature walk at Pocosin National Wildlife Refuge in Columbia, NC, not far from the Outer Banks.  It sits there, providing house and home for all sorts of critters.  The Park Service will not touch it, and they shouldn’t.  This tree is going to keep on giving for many years, even though it’s formal life is over.  I find it joyfully complex, almost overwhelming.  Who knows what’s going on in there at any given time.  Probably a lot.  Nature perhaps is not simple.  There are indeed quiet and one could say simple moments of harmony, but the constant state of change we find in nature is neither simple nor harmonious. Photography and art more generally has to somehow grapple with those discontinuities.  My pursuit of a perfectly simple world was off target.  Glad I figured that one out.