A different kind of trip

It’s only in the last few hundred years that travel has become vehicular, in some way. Before that?…you rode a horse (or maybe a horse drawn carriage), or a donkey or mule.. or you walked. And didn’t need a road, just a path, if there was one.
Walking can be a road trip, it’s just a different kind of ‘road’.
I’ve done a lot of walking on California beaches, it’s always been a trip (pun intended).

WndrngSpirts

And all that I’d seen in just my few first years out west came together over 15 years ago into this photo project called “Beach Trip”, black and white montage prints, done in a good old fashioned chemical darkroom.

http://www.californiabeachtrip.com

It was produced for a company that melted down before the work was published in any way.
Now thanks to this crazy digital world, I can publish it myself.
And I can expand it in ways that were photographically impossible 16+ years ago.
I invite you to check it out:

BTbook

http://www.blurb.com/b/5470637-a-walk-on-the-california-coast

This is the first version of this book, I am revising it – a much shorter, leaner book is coming soon, much more affordable, and better as an eBook.

Abandoned

So let’s wax philosophical again, for another month, it’s why we travel anyway, isn’t it?

“Abandoned” – This topic has occurred to me many times before. And it’s a topic ( or a ‘folder’) in which i could file many images.

Another thought:

To be in motion literally, but also to be ‘still’ in another way, an observer. To see what has been… abandoned, discarded.

By ‘still’ i mean the connotation of the word best explained musically by the Eagles in a song ‘Learn to be still’.

I thought i could come up w/ a link to this track, but i guess Don Henley’s copyright police have shut down any You Tube videos of this song.

But hopefully you can get the basic thought just from the title – ‘learn to be still’.

(Note to Don H. – ‘lighten up, dude’.)

I like taking in some things that many would pass by without missing a beat. By ‘taking in’ i mean ‘noticing'(#1)…’photographing'(#2) …and ‘thinking about'(#3)…those things/ scenes… ‘vignettes’, if you will.

What does ‘abandoned’ mean?

AbandonedDEFBut beyond the literal definition, what does it mean?

Photographers have been entranced by empty spaces since as long as there was a camera.

Eugene Atget photographed Paris in the early morning. No people present. Maybe the streets were not as abandoned as those in some So. California towns, but it feels the same.

Harry Callahan shot NYC.

Robert Miscrach did alotta very provocative things w/ the (empty) California desert.

A good friend of mine has a gallery at his site:

http://www.artfaul.com/Ghost_Towns.html

This is just a very, very short list.

So why does these things inspire us to trip the shutter? What are we trying to capture?

Good question, no easy answer. Make up your own.

I’ve been shooting very quiet and rather ‘abandoned’ street scenes since i was a starving student back in old town Alexandria Va, in 1974-5, before it got yuppified. Those were the best of times, i could live on $500/month, shot w/ an old Nikon w/ a 28mm lense and an orange filter.

I still haven’t figured it out, and it’s been a very long time since i started.

For this ‘wild and crazy’ post, I started by collecting digital (color) images.

Abandoned4up

Then i stumbled upon a few of my B&W images… and my perspective changed, entirely.

Color sucked, i just had to go ‘B&W’. There’s just something about B&W that suits this topic.

I’ve been doing B&W for 40 years, it’s still the most ‘focused and sharp’ way to capture the world.

The pix below say it better than i can w/ words, but I’ll give a try w/ a few words of..uh.. introduction. Hope it’s not too presumptuous, but WTF, i’ll give it a try.

These are all images i shot when i saw something while driving or walking, and that switch in my head went off ‘pull over, this is worth remembering’.

But …why? What do they say, represent?

A lot of broken dreams, unfulfilled hopes? Roads not taken, turns not made? Hopes? Dreams? Aspirations?

All of the above, in some measure, way, shape, form.

I have been pondering this since my dad & mom took us three kids on all kinds of trips, 50+ years ago.

We drove from Maine into Quebec on small roads, and never passed thru customs of any kind.

All of a sudden, all the road signs were in French, it was that simple.

Sometimes you turn a corner?…. and it’s a whole new world.

And no, there is no going back – time travels forward, only a one way street.

These places have all seen better days. But they can say something to us now.

I am not asking you to ‘enjoy’, that’s not the right word – i am asking that you ‘ponder’ ..the following.

CafeSign

Direction_sign

GasStation

 

MailBoxesBW

NoTraffic

 

MH_powerboxes

 

PrivateProperty

 

Rhyolite2

 

TreeHouse

 

WhitesMotelSign

 

WindowDk

 

WindowLt

BTW, some of these have inspired great darkroom montage work – hope those make you ponder, also.

MotelStairs

StairwayMontage

D96_15EdgeOfTown_Cntct

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The best thing i could do with this blog is drop something in your lap you didn’t expect.

And ask you: ‘Ponder this!’ – whatever crosses your path, or path you wander on.