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?

30 September, 2019

Sometimes Time Stands Still

Sometimes it seems like firefighters have three main speeds: urgent, slow-but-deliberate, and still-life.

While visiting the home of a friend, it was the slow but deliberate advance of two trucks, with lights flashing but sirens silent, that first attracted my attention. I stepped outside and looked down the street to see a world bathed in red, only a few blocks away. I started to walk.

31 July, 2019

When the Good Night Beckons

I've long felt a kind of distant, undeserved kinship with Renaud Lavillenie. We're within 5 months of the same age. We're both pole vaulters, and we both started over 20 years ago.

He's much better, obviously. But whenever someone's questioned me about the realities of pole vaulting at our age, I would point out Renaud as a canonical example of what's possible. "The world record holder is still competing, and we're the same age," I would retort. If he can keep going at his level, then I can keep going at mine.