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Penland, North Carolina 2012

These photographs were made in late June and early July 2012 on a trip from Boston, where I live, to teach at Penland School of Crafts near Spruce Pine in North Carolina. I drove down there and back, photographing some along the way, but mostly photographed in the small town of Spruce Pine and near to Penland. Each morning at 6:30, often with two or three students along, we would spend a couple of hours photographing in Spruce Pine. The idea of coming back to someplace to photograph, to study it and one’s results from the previous day seemed to resonate with the students and it certainly did for me. Spruce Pine is small, bifurcated into older and newer parts and reflects present day US economics and hard times. It has a railroad that goes right through it, sits in a valley alongside a river and is lush in late June with dark green foliage.

Working this way in North Carolina brought me back to days in my deeper past. There were many road trips spent photographing, sometimes alone, sometimes with friends, sometimes with students, pulling over in some little town, walking and shooting what I saw and what seemed worth trying to make into a picture.

Of note here to other photographers is that this is the first group of pictures I have made with a new camera, a Nikon D800E. This is always a love/hate relationship for me, getting used to how a new camera works, how it sees and imposes itself on what I want it to do. No one wants to be stumbling with buttons and controls while taking pictures and, as cameras are now very complex, it takes me a while to feel comfortable with its newness and being unfamiliar.

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