off-balan ce

April 6, 2010 Leave a comment

I love the backs of buildings. All the attention is given to the front, of course. The public face. But in the back, where nobody is supposed to be, where nobody is supposed to look–that’s where you see the most honest and intriguing aspect of the building and the people who inhabit it.

I’ve walked by this door dozens of times and always found it oddly attractive. I’m drawn to its lack of symmetry. Everything is just a bit off-center, a bit out of true. For some reason, that makes it beautiful to me.

Categories: buildings, city, industrial

hint of things to come

March 28, 2010 Leave a comment

There are so many things to like about vines growing on the sides of buildings. They form a habitat–almost an ecosystem–inhabited by small animals and insects. They bring the natural world closer to the people who live or work in the buildings. And hey, they’re pretty.

But there’s also the fact that growing vines are a reminder that the natural world is always trying to reclaim its territory. Given time and opportunity, these vines will pull these bricks down and reduce this lovely window to lovely rubble.

Categories: buildings, nature


March 12, 2010 Leave a comment

I have a perverse passion for asphalt. Ecologically, it has to be a complete fucking nightmare. Its primary component is crude petroleum, after all. Chemists can’t even accurately determine the molecular structure of asphalt because of the number of complex chemicals involved.

But it photographs so well.

Categories: city, industrial, streets, water

power lines

March 5, 2010 Leave a comment

About a month ago my perception of power lines started to shift. Like more folks, I’ve spent time trying to find ways to keep them out of the frame. But lately I find myself shooting photos that deliberately include them. There is an odd sort of grace to them, I think.

Most cities and towns either have moved their power grid underground or plan to do it at some point in the future. All those power lines will eventually disappear. That’s a good thing, of course.

But I believe I may start a personal series of photos that are primarily about power lines. I’m not sure I’ll follow through, but I think the idea has merit.

Categories: city

fifty-five days

February 3, 2010 Leave a comment

According to the local weather service, we’ve had fifty-five days of heavy snow so far this winter. That’s fifty-five days of heavy snow. None of your moderate snow, none of you light snow, none of your dustings of snow. Heavy snow.

Fifty-five days.

Categories: buildings, landscape, winter

motel redwood

December 27, 2009 Leave a comment

According to the sign, the motel offers ‘Color TV’ in the rooms. Television…in color! Make your reservations now!

I recall this motel from when I was a boy living in Iowa. I grew up, moved away, didn’t come back for years and still more years. It’s still there, getting seedier and more wonderfully anachronistic.

Categories: buildings, winter

swine barn

December 17, 2009 1 comment

Buildings like this…large, utilitarian structures…make me wish I’d studied architecture. I’ve no real desire to build houses or offices or skyscrapers, but I love the rawness and complexity of these sorts of repetitive and conspicuous beams and struts.