From the Archives 4

Part of a series looking at past works perhaps missed or under-acknowledged.

This time we're going to look at several seasons of photographing the town of Spruce Pine, North Carolina as I was teaching at Penland. 

I have taught at the Penland School of Art in Spruce Pine, NC  for 4 summers (2012, 2013, 2014, and 2018). Each time I would drive down from Cambridge, MA to teach for two weeks and then photograph every morning in town before class. Up early, grab a few students, drive to town, get coffee, walk and photograph for 30 to 40 minutes, drive back to school and go to class. Every day. Each of the four years I taught there. 

After four years of this, the amount of work has grown quite large. The last time I  taught there I brought the work with me (print size is 17 x 22 inches) and we looked at some each morning in class.

Unspectacular, often looking like just what is there, the work grew and extended farther out over the years, folding in more parts of the town and the valley as I learned the town and was looking for new things to photograph. 

Working through a couple of different cameras, some life changes that were huge, a few problematic students, and some complex relationships, the photographs stand as a testimony to a way of seeing that has served me well. Spruce Pine itself is amazing, combining a southern railroad town with some serious decline. The work is close to my core in that it embodies the way I see diverse content; walking, looking, shooting hand held in different weather with different light.  

The Spruce Pine works, split up into the years I made them, are here:

Spruce Pine 2012

Spruce Pine 2013

Spruce Pine 2014

Spruce Pine 2018

To date, this is work that has not been shown. I think it needs a book. What do you think?

Topics: Southeast

Permalink | Posted March 8, 2022