i think i should spend a few minutes writing about how starting this website today came to happen. with a liberal interspersing of some of my photos, of course. this one, for example, is a brand new light on a fir tree in a neighbor’s yard. the light is brand new, because yesterday the demo crew with the city finished tearing down what was left of her house. it’s a pretty nice photo of a sad story. it’s gonna take a little time to explain, but that’s a little bit in the future. for now, here’s a pretty nice photo.
a little over a year ago, i got this htc phone with an AWESOME camera. i mean AWESOME. i’ll be writing more about this, probably a lot. when i got this phone, i couldn’t believe the clarity and quality of images i could get (once i learned a few tricks about how to focus…) with a cell phone that is my 24/7 constant companion. i started taking photos of everything i saw, and learned some tricks for how to take advantage of some features of this phone. some of the images i get are pretty nice. i also learned some things about light and have on more than one occasion applied my degree in physics in pursuit of a nice photo.
so, it turns out i have a lot of things to say about taking photos, but i have another more serious reason to share some things i learned about photoing, too. i learned a little bit about the mindset of documentation with a camera.
because, i live in tuscaloosa. forest lake neighborhood.
it’s a smallish city in alabama. you probably forgot by now, but you might have heard about some tornado that really chewed us pretty good last spring.
(you also may have heard about our football team – 14, badder than a honeybadger, roll tide. even with a completely destructed infrastructure we supported our ginormous fan base all the way through a championship season. and made it look easy.)
people who don’t live here in tuscaloosa and who haven’t visited tuscaloosa since our giant tornado last april generally assume that everything is back to normal here, if they have even heard of what happened here at all. mostly, that is not true. a lot of homes with only roof or other ‘minor’ damage have been repaired. we have huge open fields that used to be neighborhoods. in my immediate area, there has been a lot of rebuilding, but most lots are sitting empty. and while most of the big rubble has been removed and looks clear from the road, if you look closer you can see that the entire area will be a debris field forever, covered in fragments from 10,000 households. plastic, glass, fine ceramics, headless stuffed animals with indestructible polyester filling, nails, bricks, silverware, pieces of toys and toothbrushes tangled up in bike chains and skeletons of barely recognizable lawn furniture. and the whole entire path of the tornado is covered with the most astonishing array of ceramic bathroom tile fragments. for miles.
but yeah, mostly, from the road it looks pretty much empty and clear.
don’t get me wrong, we still have our dirty little secrets. i just took photos of alberta city last weekend.
so, i have a lot of experience taking photos of debris now, since i live in it and see it everywhere i go every single day. i have been glad to have such a great camera to cling to in such a dynamic environment. i am old enough to remember enjoying film cameras – even with all the annoyances, so digital photography is a dream come true for me. and that i can have this kind of quality image capture in my pocket at all times is almost lifetime wildest fantasy.
subject. perspective. dimension. focus. it’s a complete coincidence it’s worked out this way. these are the words that came to mind when i was trying to think of a name for this (i’m pretty happy with scale photography for a variety of reasons) and the tiny little bit of chemistry hidden in there gives me a smile.
i hope you like my photos, and i also hope at least once, you find something that i post helpful.
also, i should repeat this…
my only camera is my cell phone.
oh, and here’s a nice photo of me from this last summer. i was one of the tiny handful of people who stayed and lived in the destruction zone. it was a pretty wild summer.
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