rare images : galleries
Americans are great producers, but rarely great consumers, of artifacts. The evolution of our cities creates, over time, its own fossil record, which becomes a humble and humbling backdrop to our daily commute, our errands and activities, without ever fully gaining our attention. Toeffler noted that we have become increasingly inured to urban artifacts: an old hotel or store is there one day and gone the next. The Urban Landscapes series attempts to sieze on these relics and ask us to look at them in a new way, as pieces of our past, as the colors and patterns of decay, as history making and unmaking. And as a further threat to our sometimes-hubris, it offers the occasional patch of clover, the dandelion. "I am the grass," wrote Robert Frost, "I cover all."
Then there are the views we do not create. The Nature Landscapes series honors those, frequently fleeting, moments in which we quietly observe the artistry and activity of what poet Robinson Jeffers called "organic wholeness, the wholeness of life and things, the divine beauty of the universe." Photography is always a collaboration between what lies in front of the camera and who stands behind it. Unlike the painter, he does not control the palette, any more than he controls the placement of lichen on trees, moss on sandstone bluffs, or drops of dew forming and dissolving on an iris. Landscapes are simply an act of recognition, not just of a scene but of a specific moment in time, and of our place in that moment.
rust never sleeps
Rust is at once a range of colors and an invitation to the past. The disused tractor among weeds and gravel, the overturned porch-chair--neither would capture much attention if new. By "happy accident" the tractor's colors are reiterated in the barn; the chairs are bathed in a golden slant-light. Rust alerts us to the presence of ghosts, the driver of the tractor, the couple sitting in the chairs, on the porch of this same cabin, years ago. We enter these pictures in the present and we exit in history.
flowers & still-life
Further distillation of the moment: the luxurious folds of iris petals, a butterfly hovering on a lily. What we take for inactivity is in fact unfolding before our eyes: balance, feeding, pollination, even evaporation. The photographer stands with the light just on his shoulder. Whatever elements of wish-fulfillment are here are belied by the matter-of-fact delivery of the image itself.
collections & kitch
Kitch offers both temporal and narrative properties. It connects us to our past in a wry, wink-wink sort of way that at the same time insists on being understood as more than just irony. This series is meant as serious good fun. It lets kitch speak to us, both in its own context and in new, sometimes incongrous, sometimes political, contexts. In many of these images, the figures themselves--which originate as the ultimate in mass-consumer art--become quietly and humorously subversive.
beaches & seaside
What better illustration of frozen time than a ski-plane in flight above a sun-bather, or the fingers of a wave stretched landward? What better homage to tenacity than the solitary tree perched on the crest of a jagged rock which rises out of the waves like a storm-surge? This wide-ranging series contrasts motion and rest, frenzied activity and repose.
From a culture which casts out plenty to one which throws nothing away. In the Mirabello pictures we see a changed palette, vibrant Mediterranean colors and what appears to be a more comfortable relationship between a people and their past than we see in Rust.