Friday, September 25, 2009
Here are a few images from a new series I am working on.
1. A person who suffers from a destructive or injurious action or agency: a victim of an automobile accident.
2. A person who is deceived or cheated, as by his or her own emotions or ignorance, by the dishonesty of others, or by some impersonal agency: a victim of misplaced confidence; the victim of a swindler; a victim of an optical illusion.
3. A person or animal sacrificed or regarded as sacrificed: war victims.
4. A living creature sacrificed in religious rites.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Foam Henge, Natural Bridge, VA
Further down the same road I see a road sign almost hidden in the trees for 'Foam Henge' one mile ahead on right. I can't believe my luck and when I suddenly see the familiar monoliths in a clearing perched on a small hill I pull over immediately. It is exactly what it says it and I am in mute amazement to see this familiar landmark from my childhood home in Hampshire way out here in deepest darkest Virginia. It is a strange and deeply surreal sight. I immediately think too of the ending of the original Planet of the Apes movie and the line: “I’m home. All this time, I was home” are words which ring over and over in my head until finally I am compelled to whisper them to myself out loud in the car. These are the first words I have spoken all day too and my voice sounds remote and alien. I pull off the road into a small empty car park and see a track leading up the hill to where the stones/foams are dramatically silhouetted against the late afternoon sky. At the bottom of the track is a small plaque staked into the ground which reads:
Welcome to Foamhenge. Completed in 6 weeks using beaded Styrofoam blocks weighing over 420lbs. Delivered on 4 tractor trailer trips from Winchester VA 100miles north. Taking 5 Mexicans and one White Man to construct.
I clamber the path to the top and walk around the structure which is impressive in a totally eccentric way and, very carefully smoking, I begin to contemplate, in much the same way I would contemplate the original Stonehenge -considering deeply the mysteries of its purpose and also its makers. Finally, feeling weary from driving and overcome with childhood memories and emotions, I sit on one of the realistic gray painted now flaking fake fallen foam stones, which are quite comfortable, with a sense of peace and strange relief, until the sun goes down..
Monday, September 21, 2009
Natural Bridge, VA
On the way through a no-place called Natural Bridge I pull over at the sight of two strange spectacles. The first is an old boarded up lot covered in bright blue peeling paint, which first gets my attention with it having the Ten Commandments nailed to the heavily chained up gates. I get out, photograph, and peek into the enclosure. Inside it is filled with dozens of life size replicas of real, mythical and prehistoric animals. It is a storage facility for a closed down leisure park of some kind called and according to the faded sign inside: The Enchanted Kingdom.
It appears to have been closed a long time ago and the forest has again begun to reclaim it, like everything else left, lost and abandoned around here. The fibre glass animals are scattered, shattered, lame, limp, fractured, limbless and broken about the entire lot: A herd of Elephants in a petrified parade are lashed down with ropes between two outhouses. Two faded and peeling Tigers tied to a truck bed next to a decapitated Giraffe. A glowing green Brontosaurus which stands on three legs frozen in an eternal topple. Cattle and Deer lay sideways in the undergrowth stiff with plastic rigamortis. Giant crumbling Pharaohs stand as sentinels against the fence looking inwards. Raptors fossilized between empty corroding cars husks. A massive and horrific blue hand reaches up from the weeds with screaming faces on the ends of each of its fingers. I am astonished by this sad amazing and weird beauty and begin photographing as best I can between the small gap between the gates.
I walk around the perimeter. Its late afternoon and the sun is hot and the air thick with insects. Around the back of the lot, trampling down thick undergrowth, I am acutely aware I am now trespassing and also watching for snakes or other nasty's - (like the person who owns this strange space). Suddenly I am shocked still in my tracks as I stumble into a giant fibre glass Tic, right there in front of me. It was once a vivid blue, but with time it has lost most of its colour, looking now like it was made from bone. It stands ten feet tall in the grass with a nightmarish life size tortured human face frozen in a dreadful pain filled grimace. Its legs still lifting it above the grass, which has now gone yellow beneath it. On the Tics huge bulk it looks as though a man were trying to climb out, though trapped once on the inside of it, but had been quickly petrified in mid-motion - weathered hands reaching into the air with splayed fingers. It is a shocking wonderful and exciting site and I begin laughing out loud with its absurdity.
My photographs though are disappointing. The bright afternoon sun frazzling the strange mystery which I see with my mind. It is here I become aware of the sometimes vast space between writing and photography.
Sunday, September 20, 2009
Friday, September 18, 2009
By the late afternoon I have more or less descended the mountain. I drive for several miles winding my way through deep valleys with small towns and villages which all sit precariously squashed up against the roadside, between cliff and rivers edge. Mining and Mill towns where every other house is either empty or derelict. Scary looking gas stations which I am worried about pulling over into with beat up, rusting trucks parked up in lines with wild looking bearded guys in dungarees sitting outside - barking dogs and peeling signs from the 60s advertising things no longer in existence. A few miles down the road I pull over to take photos and quickly attract the locals, who seem to drive out of no-where, pulling over and asking questions with their shocking, but actually quite friendly southern accents. They ask about my New Jersey number plates and lump England in with the rest of the world in their long musing loosely based outside the U.S. stories. They all think I am seriously lost and well off the beaten path and want to point me to the Interstate giving incoherent directions and don't understand my reluctance to use it. Confused when I explain what I am doing. I feel in no way threatened either, the fear being only in my mind, fed by movies and other horror stories. If anything they were nervous and a little frightened of me. I think that if I was in trouble or needed any assistance at all, they would have done anything for me to help in any way possible.
Saturday, September 5, 2009
Buena Vista, VA
Holiday Handguns, Gun Show, KS
Tight-Rope Walker, Worlds of Fun, KS
My Running on Empty Exhibition has now moved to another location.
For the next two months, until the end of October, It will be showing at Dunn Bros coffeehouse 87th St and Metcalf Ave, across the street from Borders Book Store in Overland Park, KS.
I will also be the featured artist at B-Studio in December where I plan to Exhibit the Running on Empty series in full. Apx 80 images. This will be a part of the First Fridays event in the Crossroads District in downtown Kansas City, MO.
I will post more information about this Exhibition at a later date.
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Self Portrait with Painted landscape, Tucumcari, NM
Part 1 of my series of occasional Self Portraits: Scattered Self (finding myself on the road).
This series began last year after JPG magazine.com ran a 365 day portrait theme and asked members to make a self portrait every day for a year. I took up this challenge, but unfortunately I only managed to make an average of 1 or 2 images a week. Here are just a few of the images. I will still continue this search for myself - as, when and where ever...