In the film Smoke, Harvey Keitel plays the role of Auggie Wren, the owner of a Brooklyn corner smoke shop. Each morning, Auggie stands kitty-corner from his shop and sets up a camera on a tripod. Then at exactly 8:00 am he makes one exposure of his store while disregarding all activity in front of his lens. He then returns to open his shop and begin his daily engagement with his customers.
One day, Auggie asks a regular customer, Paul–played by William Hurt–to come to his apartment to view his collection of daily photographs. Auggie is passionate about the photos and considers it his life’s work. As Paul begins to quickly turn the pages of the photo album, he comments that all the images are the same because they’re of the same scene. But Auggie convinces him to slow down and take a closer look. Soon Paul discovers that the images have more differences than similarities and one in particular touches his heart.
So it is with this Auggie Wren collection. Each image is monochromatic and pared down to a few shared elements: abandoned marine pilings, smooth water, overcast skies, soft light, an ambiguous horizon and an overall tranquil mood; a sense of quietness and solitude.
The difference between me and Auggie is that while he is making his images in the same location with varying elements, I am using the same elements in various locations. My intent is to encourage the viewer to examine the differences and the subtle mood shifts elicited by these minimal variables.
Beginning at the age of 22 Micajah Burnett designed and built many of the buildings in the Shaker village at Pleasant Hill, KY. This elegant spiral staircase is one of two in the Trustee’s House (1839). The two staircases stand mirroring each other ascending three stories from the building’s main hallway and are quite striking with patterns and play of light.
Of necessity, to accommodate this round stairwell the adjacent rooms also curved in the most delicate and graceful manner. What a luxury to spend time in this spacious room.
The part of the hotel stay that still makes me smile was the access I had to the building interior that would otherwise been problematic. As it was, I photographed the marvelous stairs structures and hallways unhurriedly at odd hours of the day before and after the staff and guests were moving about. With the candle-like sconces being the only artificial lighting, I was also able to remove various bulbs to control the wonderful shadows in the stairwells. A Regular kid in a candy-store I was.
Last Friday evening (June 12th) a Silent March in support of the Black Lives Matter protests drew the participation of an estimated five hundred Vashonites. As the march proceeded through Vashon’s main business district everyone took a knee for eight minutes and fifty eight seconds in memory of George Floyd’s murder and all people of color unjustly killed.
The silence on our typically noisy main street was profound and surreal; no chatting or even murmuring, nor vehicular traffic although the roads were not blocked. Social interaction was largely absent among these people of our small community, people who are familiar to themselves and had not had the chance to interact for months. Personal visits set aside for a common expression of support and solidarity and grief and resolve and love. The pictures tell the story.