Depression Era Leftovers and Dorothea Lange

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Known primarily for her work depicting migrant workers in the American West, the Dust Bowl migration, and the Japanese American Internment, I learned that In July of 1939 while working for The Farm Security Administration the great Dorothea Lange with Paul Taylor spent several days photographing the farms & farmers in Person, Chatham, Orange, Durham & Wake Counties in North Carolina – my backyard. Taking directions from Ms. Lange’s field notes, researching her images, searching Google Maps, and driving around the counties I set out to find those buildings and places depicted in her iconic photos. I’ve been exploring those places and the farming architecture that still exists in the landscapes of these North Carolina counties. Many of the buildings and farms no longer exist, some structures are only ruins.  Left over from the depression era, scattered like totems in the fields along old rural highways and mixed among the modern crops and machinery stand the remnants of tobacco curing sheds, barns, country stores, and the long-deserted homes of the sharecroppers and landowners. Some have been preserved and put to utilitarian use in the present but most, having long since served their purpose, are left to decay and collapse into the fields.

I’m such a sentimental goof I even got choked up standing in one of the very spots I knew Lange had stood. I doubt I’ll ever achieve anything close to the skill and mastery of Ms. Lange but standing where she stood, imagining what she saw, and what life was like back in 1939 not only for the people and places she photographed but for a pioneering woman photo journalist, is an inspiration.

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front porch

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My project is expanding and I have a lot more exploring to do…

An Architectural Color Explosion

A while ago I took a trip over to my Alma Mater, North Carolina State University to check out the James B. Hunt library. It’s an incredible environment of learning, research, and technology, and a lot of color thrown in. I love all the color and bold graphic shapes.

library entrance

Clean lines & color in the entry

 

front entry

 

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robotic book storage and retrieval system

 

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first floor lounge

lounge full of light and color

 

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Watch the stories, listen to designers

A view from above

Looking down from the upper balcony

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upper level study area

Exterior

Exterior, west side.

 

Dancing In The Light

This old cemetery is at Trinity Church, Scotland Neck, NC established in 1732. I love the light patch illuminating the markers. I imagine the spirits, dancing among the markers, reveling  in the beautiful light. A friend told me her father used to play hide & seek in this cemetery as a young boy…

Grave markers, Scotland Neck, NC

What Lies Beneath

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“Take only memories, leave only footprints.”  Chief Seattle

As a photographer I love to make  images that convey the beauty of the landscape. Images that make you go “ahh! I want to be there”, images to share the places I see that take my breath away. I maneuver my position and camera angle to exploit the best possible light, to create a snapshot of time standing still that you can step in to, smell the air, feel the breeze, hear the rustle of leaves, the lapping of water on the shore line and the varied calls of the wildlife that inhabit the terrain.

What you don’t see in the images is the is the ugliness that humans wreak on the environment. Recently, I took a much-needed break and headed out to one of my favorite places to hang out and photograph the nature and enjoy the wildlife that I am lucky enough to have just a few miles from home.  I see happy families fishing off the shoreline, people laughing, enjoying boats on the water, carefree groups picnicking and camping.

And I see trash. Lots and lots of trash.

I shouldn’t be surprised.  I do, after all, take part in the clean up endeavors organized by CleanJordanLake.org  and have seen first hand the mountains of waste  that finds its way downstream ending up in our lake. What I don’t understand is the utter careless ambivalence by the very people who enjoy all that our lake has to offer, discarding their garbage as though it’s going to magically be swallowed up by the earth and do no damage.

Here’s a look at the variety of “species” I encountered.

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Known for basking in the sun, it’s no surprise how this species got it’s name!

trash, McDonalds

Too many purchased species kept in captivity are discarded when they aren’t useful any longer.

fishingline, trash

This common nylon creature is deceptively harmless. Once it attaches itself to other unsuspecting wildlife it becomes a deadly predator.

Last year, a friend and I rescued a Great Blue Heron caught up in fishing line. All you need to do is Google wildlife rehab centers to see the magnitude of injured and killed wildlife affected by this every day.

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It’s not uncommon to find many different species of plastics gathering along the shoreline

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An outcast from it’s group and typically travelling in packs of six, this unfortunate species has lost it’s soul mates.

I wish a lot of things…I wish there was a better ability by park authorities to police the litterers, I wish fast food chains could be fined or have to pay a tax to use styrofoam. I wish there was more incentive for recycling, although the preservation of our resources should be enough. I wish people weren’t so careless and uncaring. I can only make a small dent. I carry trash bags in my car to collect what I can and participate in organized clean ups but it’s a daunting and never-ending task.

Pick up a piece of trash. Clean up after yourself and leave the places you visit and enjoy better than how you found them.