I’ve been heading down to Westbrook, CT these past few weekends to help my parents clean out their house for a permanent move to Florida. Its a three hour drive and I’ve been trying to make the most of it by stopping along the way at some of the exits which have promising signage. Places that I wouldn’t stop with the family (got to get home do homework or make it to a game) or with the dog in the car. Far too often photography is a solitary endeavor when one can have their mind free and clear to see the images.
This time I got off at Greenfield, MA, my “check engine” light flipped on and my “cruise” control light started blinking so I figured I might want to stop and check things out. Oil was fine, gas cap screwed on tight, nothing leaking under the car. So I figured I’d be alright but maybe I should let the car cool off a bit.
I saw a sign for the Hallmark Museum of Contemporary Photography (which the photography school in Turner Falls, MA) and decided I might as well point the car in that direction so I put it on the GPS. Never did make it. An old factory caught my eye as well as a local sculpture park. I can never pass up funky artwork or abandoned buildings so I walked around and checked things out.
While I was photographing the old abandoned and fenced off factory building a guy who was mowing the lawn motioned me over – “Are you photographing for work or hobby?” he asked.
Kind of a strange question but my spider sense told me that hobby was the less threatening of the two choices. I didn’t know what was going to come next. Did I have a permit or something?
He said “Come here I want to show you something” and motioned over to the bushes. Hmmm, I was getting a bit nervous at this point. It was a rather out of the way and crummy area. But it turns out he just wanted to show me the newly hatched snapping turtles that he nearly decapitated with his mower.
I thank him for showing me his discovery and went through the motions of photographing the cute little buggers. I hadn’t brought my macro lens but I did have my Panasonic LX5 which has a great macro capability.
Freshly hatched baby snapping turtle already escaped death by lawn mower.
I put the baby snapping turtle safely back in the brush on the river side of the road. Then it started to rain so I decided it was about time to get back on the road, that’s when I discovered on of my favorite shots of the day – a classic Ford Galaxy 500 parked on an empty street with classic New England triple decker houses. It was just too perfect. Empty street, the rain, classic car, classic background!
I just love seeing vintage cars “in the wild” as my engineering friend and car buff says. The rain put an extra bleak look on the whole image. You just never know what you’ll find around the corner.
This whole area of western Massachusetts has that old mill town feeling that photographer Gregory Crewdson loves to use in his work – like in the books Twilight, Beneath The Roses and the documentary about his work – Brief Encounters.
If you get a chance to see “Brief Encounters” do so! It’s fascinating.
Gregory Crewdson’s riveting photographs are elaborately staged, elegant narratives compressed into a single, albeit large-scale image, many of them taken at twilight, set in small towns of Western Massachusetts or meticulously recreated interior spaces, built on the kind of sound stages associated with big-budget movies. Shapiro’s fascinating profile of the acclaimed artist includes stories of his Park Slope childhood (in which he tried to overhear patients of his psychologist father), his summers in the bucolic countryside (which he now imbues with a sense of dread and foreboding), and his encounter with Diane Arbus’s work in 1972 at age 10. Novelists Rick Moody and Russell Banks, and fellow photographer Laurie Simmons, comment on the motivation behind their friend’s haunting images. — (C) Zeitgeist
Gregory Crewdson: Brief Encounters
Edward M. Fielding is a fine art photographer in the Upper Valley region of New Hampshire.