Saturday, June 21, 2008

Active Memorial Displays - Grave in Avon North Carolina

You really need to see the detail in the image to understand it. Please click on the image above to see it larger.

There seems to be some signs of a change in the way we are inclined to memorialize the departed. The word “shrine” seems appropriate. Perhaps the beginning of this possible trend was the roadside memorial. We’ve all seen them, and there has been at least one photo project to document roadside memorials. I don’t now if it was in Camera Arts or another of the black and white photo magazines.

Contrasted with most graveyards (I’m reminded of my youth, driving by miles and miles of the Forest Lawn graveyard, stretching as far as the eye could see, on the Long Island Expressway) this is a far more vital and active way of memorializing. It also gives the living a means of expression in the present, rather than obsessing just on the past. Generally these memorials have some of the cherished possessions of the departed.

I’ve been following some these memorials in Avon, N.C. for a while, an old fishing community now driven by the Cottage industry : >. Avon lost its share of Watermen to the sea and to the Sound.

The town of Avon, on the Sound side, has an old church (now closed and moved somewhere else) that has a boardwalk to a ship launching pier. Each year a ceremony is held, and an empty skiff is launched to memorialize those who lost lives on the water. That same church has a graveyard that has some active memorial displays. The above image is a recently changed small memorial. The photograph above is a black and white image to which muted color has been added to a few elements. I found this the best way to deal with the somber nature of the subject.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Mary Ellen Mark, Paramount Theatre, Charlottesville

Last night I attended Mary Ellen Mark’s presentation. Martin Bell Alex Chadwick served as interviewer and commentator and work was shown that spanned her earliest to her latest work. The images were projected on the Paramount’s projection system, and the results were good. As with any projected image, the range isn’t quite as good as when viewing a well lit print. However, I don’t think that impacted the enjoyment of the images.
The audience was extraordinarily silent during the presentation of the images she took in Iceland. This was the “Extraordinary Child” series, and the series was presented without comment. I felt myself completely absorbed by what I saw, drawn into the faces in each image. It was one of the most powerful series of photographs I have ever seen.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Hat in Sand - The Outer Banks, North Carolina

Click on the image for a larger view

I’ve been visiting the Outer Banks, and I notice as soon as I start walking down the beach, I end up looking at the sand passing below my feet. I’m not the only one either, as I see other souls floating along with their eyes on the sand.

I’m not shell collector, but it is interesting to see what the sea will come up with. Some of the oddness comes from the shear amount of man-made flotsam available.

This photo is the remnants of a hat mixed in with sand and shrimp skeletons, and some other unidentified items that one would probably not want to know about. It’s sort of an overhead view of a head, except the cranial area is a turbulent mass of detritus. It kind of suggests the way I “think.” I felt some kinship, as though I had recognized myself flattened and washed up in the sand.