Oakesdale Again

My friends, this one may take a little work on your part. I have written at length about the Oakesdale Cemetery series made in 1996. I have written that I believe it is seminal to my oeuvre and, if you are interested in understanding my work at all, a real look at this series is crucial. The work you need to do? Read the posts:


which is the first





and finally:


Why now? Why ask you to take a longer look at a series made almost 20 years ago?

Because I just did. I went back yesterday. Most years when I am here in Eastern Washington I go back to the cemetery in Oakesdale, to see what has stayed the same and what has changed. I also check on what I think of as "Rob's tree"... this one:

which, 18 years later, looks like this:

(Please, no criticism of the second photograph, as inelegant as the black and white is, well, elegant.)

Still struggling and with now a story to go with it.  As I was walking around the cemetery yesterday the grounds keeper pulls up and proceeds to show me the new rose garden he and his wife put in and also says how hard it's been to keep up as he had surgery a few of weeks ago. I sympathize and then tell him how I've been tracking this one tree for 18 years and he tells me that the plot is owned by some couple from Oregon and how the plan was to take the tree down a few years ago as it seldom bloomed and had little growth. But the year they were going to end it the tree flourished and the two owners said well, it stays, right? And so it does.

So moving to walk around this most essential of places layered over with a meaning so personal and so powerful for me that it is perhaps best just to show your some of what I saw yesterday as words fail me.

One of trees in the row that went from one, to two, to three in the series, almost lost because of over watering, now working its way back to health.

The shed, seen here from a different angle, but really what started the whole series in the first place:

and the original, from 1996:

And finally, a truck, in almost the same location, but a different truck and next to a second shed, built behind the original:

49 years old when I made those, now 67.  Whew!

Thanks for reading. As always you may reach me with comments,  criticism, etc at:

Neal's email

Topics: Black and White,Analog,Northwest

Permalink | Posted July 3, 2014