31 January, 2020

Retro: A long look back and a little peek forward

There's a saying, originally by André Gide, that "One doesn't discover new lands without consenting to lose sight, for a very long time, of the shore."

Every December, from 2012 through 2017, the 25 Hours of Thunderhill was a mainstay of my photographic schedule. It was always a huge challenge, as well as a huge opportunity.

The challenge was to see the race in a different way, from a new perspective, every single year. But the opportunity was a chance to witness facets of the race that are often hidden from view, and to use them to help people understand why that race was — is — so special and so unique.

In fact, when I made my first book, "Behind the 25," my approach was to gradually peel back the layers of the 2016 race, starting with the pomp and circumstance of the event, and ending with tense moments inside the control tower that even many racers might never witness.

31 December, 2019

Macramé Around The World (Mara — People Making Cool Stuff)

One of her parents recently quipped, "Is it the same box?" It's funny how such a short question can hint at a story that spans an entire lifetime.

Like so many experiences with macramé knotting, my friend Mara's story began with friendship bracelets in summer camp, when she was around 10. But unlike so many, it didn't end there. "I learned when I was a kid, but kind of kept doing it…"

30 November, 2019

The Three Laws of Infrastructure

"Let's get lunch."

Lock door. Hold hands. Walk, walk, walk.

Closed. Sigh. Hold hands. Walk, walk, walk.

Finally. Pay. Eat. Leave. Hold hands. Walk, walk

Look up.

Newton's third law. For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

Sometimes a thing catches your eye and spurs some unexpected thoughts. Like how the fundamental story of infrastructure is, really, movement. It's the duality of creating and resisting movement. Of creating a foundation that helps other things to move or to stay still.

But sometimes the story of infrastructure is also the duality of leaving one place to be in another. Of saying goodbye so you can say hello.

30 October, 2019

[Doc Diaries] Photographing Art: Reflections on Truth and Beauty

I originally discovered Jonathan Prince's sculptures on Instagram, a little over 2 years ago. I was immediately drawn to them, but I knew that the experience would be deeper if I ever had a chance to see them in person. It turns out, I didn't even know the half of it.

A few weeks ago, I finally had my chance to see The Shatter Series in context, and to make pictures of the installation. And the experience led me towards so many unexpected questions — and a few answers — about the intersections of photography, physical art, truth, and beauty.

The first question came to mind the moment I approached the installation: What makes a good photograph of a sculpture? How do you start with something wonderful, and use it to develop an offshoot (such as a photograph), that has its own traits? Something that can be wonderful — or lackluster — in it's own right?

Fundamentally, how do you represent the traits of the original piece, but also create enough distance from it that one can appreciate the traits of the representation itself?